Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The truth about the FPL Transmission Lines and Nuclear Reactors. Guest Blog by Stoddard, Lerner and Roff

Try to go to one of these meetings, pick something from this  article to talk about:

Upcoming meetings, don't miss them! Also: Thursday, July 25, 6:30-9:00 pm, Miami Airport Convention Center, Room MACC1, 711 NW 72nd Ave

I am sitting in the administrative hearing being held in Miami from which an Administrative law judge will recommend which of the  six proposed transmission line corridors from Turkey Point nuclear power plant should be approved even before we know whether FPL will even be licensed by Nuclear Regulatory Commission to build 2 new nuclear power plants.  Significant and permanent economic and environmental harm would be done to several areas of Miami Dade County by building these lines, but then the power plants may never be built.  Sounds ass backward, doesn't it? FPL wants to build 500 kv lines either within or along the Everglades National Park , placing endangered species such as the wood stork, and our water resources in jeopardy.  Then they also want to build a 230 kv lines along the US 1 corridor, permanently destroying the economic viability for future commercial development along this Gateway to several south maim Dade cities, including Pinecrest, South Miami, Coral Gables and the southern portion of the City of Miami.

FPL is asking the Florida Department of Environmental Protection(DEP)  for approval to build monstrous  105 foot high, 4 feet wide transmission lines and poles all along the US 1 corridor, even though the utility has not been issued a license to build by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.  In fact,  there is no certainty that the two new nuclear power plants will ever be built.  Until the plant is licensed, there’s no justification for building new transmission lines. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has only issued 2 licenses in the past 40 years for new plants , one in Georgia and one in South Carolina, and Georgia has suspended their plans to go forward. 

Before a NRC  license can be issued , a required Environmental Review study must be completed, and after  4 years of asking for information and data from FPL, the review has recently  been suspended for failure of FPL to provide requested information, and to be responsive to the study teams requests.

Ever since June 2009, Upon being informed that FPL had selected the US 1 corridor as their preferred route to run proposed new transmission lines, all of the cities along US 1 from Pinecrest north initially requested  that any new lines must be undergrounded, but FPL has steadfastly refused, demanding instead that the cities who were making the request for undergrounding bear the financial burden.  Their claim is that the legislature and Public Service Commission require they build as cheaply as possible and there is no legislative mandate for  underground ing.  As a result the cities have been advocating at the legislative level to require a study on the practice of underground ing be updated, as the last time the Florida legislature  studied the issue was in 2005, and the state of practice of under grounding utilities around the world has vastly improved since then.   Undergrounding the lines would be the middle-ground consensus position, but FPL refuses to agree it, even if we were to go to the legislature to mandate  in circumstances where the lines would run through high population density and commercial sectors, such as what they are proposing .  The truth is, the FPLTransmission lines in downtown Miami are undergrounded for just that reason. And the truth is , the US 1 proposed corridor is not the cheapest corridor they could have proposed.

A little history less on is in order.  The utilities rewrote the Transmission Line Siting Act in 2007 to their advantage, shifting the burden of proof from themselves, to anyone who would ( dare) oppose the location the utility determined would be their preference.   The ONLY way anyone can formally oppose a proposed preferred corridor by FPL is to file an alternate corridor, a process that is extremely costly, cost prohibitive for most, and then establish that your alternate corridor should be the preferred one by the state agencies who make those determinations.   Pinecrest and Coral Gables have filed alternate corridor proposals using existing transmission lines and rights-of-way.  These are supported by South Miami.

It's been 4 years and the municipalities have spent more than a half million dollars so far on the fight.  The FPL position is that they studied various other segments for the potential routes , but the US 1  is the best.  Exhibits 293 and 294 shows the typical transmission structures proposed and they are in fact monstrosities, that would tower far above the the US 1 corridor  marring the landscape , the vista and the economic viability as a commercial and residential corridor forever .   The existing North-South transmission line corridor, connecting Turkey Point to downtown Miami  that serves as  the backbone of the Pinecrest/ Coral Gables  alternate corridor was built 40 yrs ago when Turkey Point was built.  There have been no upgrades, or improvements provided  since that time, other than storm related repairs.  The only option for fighting the  US 1 proposed corridor  by FPL was to offer The original transmission lines, built 40 plus years ago, as our alternate corridor and our proposal requires they be made safer, higher, and modernized. otherwise the original corridor will remain, unimproved even if the new US 1 lines are built!
Industrial strength lines along US 1  will destroy the future economic viability of the entire  US 1 commercial corridor.  An economic study shows  they will do extensive damage to the local economy and tax base , and reduce current commercial property values by as much as 30% .

We are also fighting the transmission lines by opposing the Nuclear Cost Recovery Act, which FPL has used to extract $1 billion so far from the ratepayers as an additional subsidy we all pay on our monthly electric bill.  Finally after 4 years the legislature has begun to address it.  We expect the legislature will eventually suspend and prohibit early cost recovery as a funding mechanism.  We are also asking legislature to consider a new law to mandate undergrounding lines in this particular circumstance.
Two options are better for everyone:

Option 1: Underground the lines.  This Changes geometry, running lines w opposite phase close together cancels more of the magnetic field than wider spaced lines on poles. and shielding them in concrete underground is vastly safer from a health perspective.    It obviously Improves the skyline. And it does  not risk electrocuting people when lines are downed by a storm.

We do not have the laws to force FPL to underground, and cannot afford to pay the bulk of the cost. it is our position that since the new power and added lines will improve the overall grid, the cost must be borne by all of the FPL customer base who will have added power.  The other  Option  is in Re-engineering existing the existing, original corridor , to add new lines.

Existing magnetic fields can be reduced by re-engineering existing corridor and including new lines.

There  is a growing  expense if the 2 new plants were  ever to receive a license by NRC.  The original cost projections in2007 were for $8-12 billion.   The projected costs have now skyrocketed to $20- $24 billion required to build these reactors.  That becomes cost prohibitive.   As the costs of gas powered plants and even renewable  energy come down each year, clearly  South Florida should  refocus their future  energy production toward safe and sustainable energy resources.

Nuclear waste.  All the nuclear waste is being stored on site, in a hurricane zone, subject to storm surge and sea level rise.  It will be dangerously radioactive for the next 1 million to 6 million years.

Storm surge can disable back-up power generation for too long (remember Fukushima).  And on that note, the Evacution plans that have been developed and approved by FEMA and Miami Dade county emergency management requires an evacuation plan for only a 10 mile radius from the plant .  There’s no quick way to evacuate South Florida in the event of a radiation leak, especially in the aftermath of a hurricane.  FPL’s evacuation study assumed that nobody living north of SW 152 St would attempt to evacuate following a nuclear accident.

In addition, Mayor Stoddard has met with Miami Dade County Emergency Management to discuss concerns that No effective plan exists for getting protective potassium iodide to children, young adults, and pregnant women prior to exposure from a nuclear release.   Instead of continuing the FPL needs to be decommissioning existing radiation sources before sea level rise and storms cause more widespread hazard.

FPL knows all these problems, yet chooses to ignore them and until both the legislature And the Governor change their energy and utility policies , FPL will  continue to be allowed to charge all of its rate payers  the nuclear cost recovery  to build transmission lines for other needs.    They have no financial risk since ratepayers are footing the bill.  There must be a moratorium on any further action on the siting or building of transmission lines unless and until the Nuclear Regulatory commission  grants them the license and there is a new Determination of Need conducted. 

In Japan they evacuated to 50 miles. That would take us to Fort Lauderdale.


Anonymous said...

Everyone should go to at least one of these meetings...it is so important.

Anonymous said...

Check out the lines that FPL graced the good people of West Miami with on 67th Ave - right through the middle of their nice town.
Let's not let that happen - especially when these lines are for a phantom nuclear expansion that will not happen once the seas start to rise. Not only will the plant be abandoned so it can't generate electricity for other places in the Southeast. But Miami Dade County will depopulate so there won't be a need for so much electricity. #getrealmiamidade

Anonymous said...

Of course FPL wants to go for a nuclear plant (whether or not they build it in the end). They're guaranteed free money (apparently they've collected 1 billion so far), which can be used for land purchases, lobbying efforts or whatever else they would like to bill against that treasure chest that can be justified to FPL friendly legislators. FPL is in the business of serving itself, not in the long term best interests of our community.rpi

Cathy said...

It would be faster, cheaper and safer to invest just a fraction of the cost of building a nuclear plant toward energy efficiency and energy reduction practices, such as promoting LED lighting or passive solar water heating or including architectural features in plans like "sunlight shelving" to bounce light onto office ceilings.

green in miami said...

"For less than half the cost of replacing just 1 nuclear power plant, we could retrofit 1.6 million homes for energy efficiency and reduce the need for the same amount of energy the plant would produce. Doing so would also create 90 times more jobs than replacing the power plant."

See an infographic showing the difference in costs and job creation here:

Anonymous said...

Nuclear reactors (new design), hurricanes, storm surge, sea level rise, and two million people. What's not to like? Come to these meetings or plan to leave South Florida very soon (and take my family with you).

Anonymous said...

city of south miami has already set a Precedent concerning transmission lines, this FPL substation and transmission lines are within 500' of children and the elderly in this Specific Neighborhood (Low Income) on three sides along SW 64 ST corridor, SW 66 ST corridor, SW 68 ST corridor, and SW 57 PL corridor economic viability, no economic damage, was done as per the Precedent development of UM's student dorm AKA red road commons clearly demonstrates, this atrocity Precedent was approved by the city of south miami local government and built along with numerous UM developments along SW 57 AVE in this specific neighborhood (Low Income). "An economic study shows they will do extensive damage to the local economy and tax base , and reduce current commercial property values by as much as 30%." "Exhibits 293 and 294 shows the typical transmission structures proposed and they are in fact monstrosities, that would tower far above the the US 1 corridor marring the landscape , the vista and the economic viability as a commercial and residential corridor forever." This is okay only in specific communities (Low Income) city of south miami. stoddard is the mayor of south miami.

street view murray park south side SW 68 ST facing North

street view murray park North side SW 66 ST facing South

murray park south miami

Anonymous said...

What would be the outcome of this happening at this substation located adjacent to south miami murray park?


Power Plant Substation Explodes On August 17th 1993, the Ives Dairy Substation in Miami, Florida experienced a total system failure when a power surge on the Miami grid fried one of the capacitor banks, and caused a breaker to trip open. Unfortunately, the breaker malfunctioned and created an arc fault...

Anonymous said...

Underground power lines have a lot of disadvantages too. While to the general public it seems like a good idea you have to remember we are barely above sea level. The risks of flooding of underground lines is much higher then the risk of wind damage. And when damage does happen, it is harder to find and fix hence power outages usually last longer.

Geniusofdespair said...

They are underground in Aventura, most places, work fine.

Deb said...

How about eliminating or delaying any new transmission lines? How? By using distributed energy resources -- rooftop solar, sustainable biomass (such as using biosolids from sewage treatment, fatty food waste, and landfill gas for energy), efficiency improvement for homes and businesses. Isn't this already done? No, utilities profit more by building central power plants and wires than by acquiring distributed energy resources. Other states have removed this profit-based regulatory disincentive to distributed energy resources, but Florida's utilities have fought off similar reforms. Florida almost made progress in that area last time Charlie Crist was Governer....