Its not that the Monroe County counter parties are ignorant of the effects of upstream decisions; their representatives serve on regional blue ribbon committees etc. etc. where they rub shoulders with their populous neighbors to the north. And it is not as though the Keys are blameless in the repetitive planning exercises that ratchet the quality of life downwards, one step at a time. "Ah, you should have been here fifty years ago." What happened in the interim -- the litany of backroom wheeling and dealing -- is mostly lost to time.
On Florida Power and Light's nuclear reactors at Turkey Point, the Florida Keys have always taken a benign view, even when proof emerged that salt water intrusion by its two nuclear reactors was moving perilously close to existing drinking water wells used by the Keys.
On its plans for two new, additional reactors, Monroe County is mostly in the dark like everyone else. FPL has micromanaged and massaged the release of details, to the exasperation of planners from Miami-Dade to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Early cost recovery -- approved by the State of Florida -- gives FPL hundreds of millions of ratepayer dollars to advance its own planning, while the public is caught in the unenviable position of playing catch-up at every twist and turn.
The media in the Keys just printed an article related to the "radial cooling wells" that are really nothing more than the biggest well field in South Florida, to deliver 120 million gallons per day of sea water from under Biscayne National Park, in order to cool the new reactors if there is a disruption in the delivery of recycled wastewater planned as the primary coolant source.
So much for everything that Key Largo residents treasure and value ... click 'read more' for the full story in the Keynoter:
Turkey Point nuclear plan could affect Keys water
By KEVIN WADLOW
Posted - Saturday, December 15, 2012 10:35 AM EST
A plan to cool new nuclear reactors at Turkey Point with Biscayne Bay water has drawn the attention of the Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority.
"We have a keen interest in making sure the freshwater-saltwater interface does not move much further to the east," FKAA Engineering Director Tom Walker said Friday.
Most of the fresh water pumped to the Florida Keys is taken from the Biscayne Aquifer at the FKAA well field in Florida City, about six miles from Florida Power and Light's Turkey Point plant.
The FPL proposal says most of the water used to cool two new reactors -- about 90,000 gallons daily -- would come from Miami-Dade's treated wastewater.
But as a backup source for cooling water, FPL wants to sink a 40-foot well beneath the bottom of Biscayne Bay.
"There are times when that [wastewater] may not be available to them," Walker said. The "radial well" would be a large shaft with a network of horizontal wells extending beneath the bay bottom. "Like spokes on a wheel," Walker said.
"The real issue for us is whether this could affect saltwater intrusion into the Biscayne Aquifer rather than causing a drawdown of the aquifer itself," said FKAA Executive Director Kirk Zuelch.
Modifications to a Miami-Dade permit needed to move forward on the Turkey Point expansion were scheduled to be heard Thursday in Miami, but the Miami-Dade County Commission could not assemble enough members to conduct the session. The issue likely will be moved to a Jan. 10 hearing.
FPL also seeks to increase the number of days it would be allowed to draw from the radial well, said Dawn Shirreffs, Everglades restoration specialist for the National Parks Conservation Association.
"They asking for the permit to allow them to use the radial well up to 50 percent of the time," Shirreffs said. "That's a significant increase and the possible ramifications are completely unknown."
"We are concerned the draw could have salinity impacts on the Biscayne Aquifer and Biscayne National Park," she said.
The power utility seeks to build a wastewater treatment plant that would require about 40 acres of coastal wetland to be destroyed, she noted.
The Turkey Point nuclear plant lies within eyesight from the top of the Card Sound Bridge.
The new reactors, if they receive approval, would not become active for another decade at the earliest. Estimated costs of the project range from $13 billion to $20 billion.