Friday, July 13, 2012

SFWMD Governing Board: the unlimited liabilities of new nuclear and the costs of looking the other way ... by gimleteye

Uncertainties piled on uncertainties yesterday as the South Florida Water Management District governing board -- appointed by Gov. Rick Scott -- looked the other way and approved another step allowing Florida Power and Light to advance its new nuclear power in the lowest lying land in South Florida despite voluminous data that FPL existing cooling canals are doing great damage to the aquifer underlying Homestead. There ought to be a law ... but there isn't. We are all hostage to government-designed-to-fail.

The liabilities we are accruing for future generations are off the charts. Forget about "jobs". The rate base for FPL could be uprooted with sea level rise. Did any of the governor appointed water district board members ask the question: how does FPL's business model work, when sea level rise forces the evacuation of much of its rate base? When that time comes, guess who will be stuck holding the bag?

We have our share of troglodyte comments on this blog around the costs of global warming and climate change. The commenters would be well advised to review the recent Bloomberg analysis of cities around the world with the most to lose from sea level rise. We are number one.  You would think this report might provoke some discussion at the District, or the county commission, or at the Florida legislature.

What District engineers know -- and the public hasn't quite caught onto yet -- is that water infrastructure will begin to fail well before people are flooded out of their homes. Why doesn't that discussion at the governing board precede any vote on new nuclear in low lying floodplains?

Boiled down to its simplest and most easily understood fact, the scheme to build two new nuclear reactors at Turkey Point is all about increasing FPL stock value for shareholders and the net worth of top executives. As the recent acquisition of Progress Energy by Duke demonstrates, pay days worth tens of millions of dollars are at stake for the top dogs. (I'm not holding my breath for the Miami Herald to report that issue.)

Electric utility executives can afford to fly away by private jet from the misery they will unleash. Water district officials can shrug that "looking the other way" is what they were appointed to do. Who else will get free rides on corporate jets to nuclear-free destinations when the time comes?


Malagodi said...

Why do people like you and me keep pissing in the wind?

Neither the politicians nor the general public is going to pay attention what-so-ever to these, or any other issues effecting the long term state of humanity and environment in South Florida. They never have and never will. This is a party town. There is nothing else other than the party.

No political leaders can address this, because if they do, property values south of the Miami River will immediately plummet in crisis mode, rather than the 'orderly' wind-down that the banks and insurance companies need. And you don't really expect the Miami Herald to be serious about this in advance, do you? They will report the exodus after it has begun.

Most likely we will continue to pay the up-front "development costs" of two new reactors that will never be built until some significant event happens. Then the direction will be abruptly reversed, the phantom reactors will be abandoned and we will then begin paying the costs for the dismantling of the existing reactors and the waste pools as the sea level rise makes the current facility completely untenable.

It's win-win at the top and lose-lose at the bottom.

Why do we keep pissing in the wind? It's what we do. We're prophets. It makes us feel special.

Grayland said...

I couldn't believe what I read about this. Well, I believe anything down here when it comes to FPL and politicians and the SFWMD!

They have "concerns", well I have REAL concerns being that it's my well system that will probably end up with salt water!

I agree with the first anon, except for the the that none of this makes me feel "special" it makes me just furious because I'm kind of stuck where I'm living due to the fact I'll get penny's on the dollar if I were to sell my house today and it won't pay off my mortgage! (no, it's not due to me leveraging, it's due to my neighbors doing that!)

I hate this H*** hole and every politician along with it!

Gimleteye said...

I don't feel special, Steve. What I do feel is an obligation to lay some sort of track down, to show that there was dissent. That we are not entirely without capacity to frame the real consequences of horrendous decisions. I don't have an argument with your other assessments, either.

I came across this quote the other day: in a letter from 1814, Thomas Jefferson wrote that our tendencies toward selfishness where liberty and our pursuit of happiness lead us require “correctives which are supplied by education” and by “the moralist, the preacher, and legislator.”

It is a quaint view. These days the preachers and legislators are mostly discredited. So far as "Moralists" are concerned, if one had a radar it would be filled with scatter. The airwaves -- where most people get their information -- are filled with false prophets.

I was watching the PBS documentary on the performance artist Marina Abromovic the other day. In one of her performances, in the 70's, she invited the audience to abuse her in various ways. One of the critics noted that her purpose was to show how thin the veneer of civilization really is and how quickly we can revert to barbarian behavior.

It is a good point. The moralist has no sway under such circumstances. I suppose on this blog ... this form of written record ... it is possible to say we simply point out what the structures look like that contain the engines of so much destruction of value. It is a form of samizdat. And yes a kind of performance that requires endurance.

I have not given up hope that some sort of change could emerge from these observations adding to the record, though I do believe that I was mostly wrong in hoping that the angels of our better nature would emerge after an economic crisis.

We were born -- as baby boomers -- in the age of prosperity, or so we thought. It turns out that we were at the beginning of the age of scarcity.

Anonymous said...

Since Miami will be the most impacted from sea level rise caused by human induced climate change, we should take the lead in showing the world ways to reduce carbon emissions. Every budget, planning, infrastructure decision should reflect this directive. But tell me, does mayor Carlos gimenez's new budget do so?

Anonymous said...

Don't hold your breath that the Miami Herald will notice climate change impacts until it floods their new headquarters in Doral- epicenter of sea level rise when pumps fail, canals overrun their banks and there's no one to deliver papers to or roads to traverse.

Anonymous said...

These guys in office become entranced by their perceived power and "the art of the possible". Don't matter that "the possible" is just another wrong way turn down a one way street. Do you think Joe Martinez doubts for a second that he is a great public servant or Lynda Bell for that matter or Pepe Diaz. Or Bruno Barreiro. The only question is whether there is some shred or inkling that they have of themselves, that it is rotten and fraudulent at the core. Like Sarah Palin does.

Anonymous said...

No news before its time. ... The Miami Herald

Anonymous said...

"The rate base for FPL could be uprooted with sea level rise. Did any of the governor appointed water district board members ask the question: how does FPL's business model work, when sea level rise forces the evacuation of much of its rate base? When that time comes, guess who will be stuck holding the bag?"

They did not ask the question because they already know the answer and so do you Gimleteye. FPL has already admitted previously: 1) they are not going to go through with building these units and the associated facilities (inclusding the wastewater re-use facilities) unless they get approval for a huge rate increase from the PSC which has been denied several times. However, they have gotten approval to get reimbursement from the ratepayers for all the planning, engineering and permitting costs for this expansion, so they have to see it through to maximize the dividends to their investors and their executive's bonuses; and 2)This expansion is not needed to meet the energy needs of South Florida. The power generated from these two new reactors was planned all along to be sent through new high tension lines out of state to other ratepayers. FPL is designing these units and supporting facilities to sit 20+ feet above sea level so any predicted rise would not impact their ability to generate power.

Anonymous said...

FPL might be designing 20 feet above sea level but they will be on and island in the sea and the overland transmission lines will be underwater- doesn't add up. Just another Shell game. Scam. Scheme. South Florida swindle.