Tuesday, September 02, 2014

An example how Gov. Rick Scott is failing to manage the nuclear threat at FPL Turkey Point: a tale of two orders … by gimleteye

On August 28th -- as Floridians were planning for Labor Day -- , by emergency order the South Florida Water Management District approved a request formally made a day earlier by Florida Power and Light to extract water from a highly stressed aquifer to cool the failing canal system that supports two nuclear reactors at Turkey Point. In South Dade, decades of operation of a failing cooling canal system have caused a plume of super-saline water to spread at risk to Florida waters and to the drinking water supply.

In 1971, FPL signed a Consent Decree with the U.S. Department of Justice that required the construction, after permitting, of a closed-loop cooling configuration with limitations that salinity must not exceed 110 percent of that in Biscayne Bay. As the decades ticked by, legal assurances that FPL would reliably operate the cooling canal system to protect the drinking water aquifer and Biscayne Bay dissolved.

An undated, unsigned "Summary of Emergency Order Conditions" details the intent of the District to rigorously supervise a large, politically influential utility that has repeatedly violated agreements with the state on the cooling canal system at Turkey Point.

At the same time FPL is pressing forward with a separate draft order to put distance between itself, the water management district, and state supervision of severe problems caused by its existing reactors.

While the emergency order summary lays out a set of responsibilities that require daily and even hourly reporting by FPL on water quantity to the District, FPL's draft administrative order would sharply limit the capacity of the district to assert its authority.

With the August 28 Emergency Order, the District is agreeing to help FPL reduce the risks of a mandatory shut-down -- and, it says, protect the environment -- but what FPL is attempting with its draft administrative order made public in July, is to minimize the regulatory authority of the one state agency with the science capacity to assess what is happening. The order must be approved by Gov. Scott's appointees at the South Florida Water Management District.

On Sept. 1, Reuters reported, "According to current state records, Florida Power & Light, the state's largest electric utility serving 4.6 million customers, over the last year has given a combined $1.2 million to Scott's political action committee, Let's Get to Work, and the Republican Party of Florida."


Anonymous said...

That's just the money we know about. How about FPL's contributions to other PACs that end up filtering into Florida and the GOP.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Let's do away with nuclear power plants and build coal power plants instead.

Oh wait ... you are against those, too.

Gimleteye said...

I've stated clearly, more than once: I favor nuclear power so long as the costs are fully accounted for, and especially where water issues are fully matched to the threats of climate change and sea level rise. FPL is negligent on these points, and its record at Turkey Point with respect to existing cooling canals is a reminder that corporations that can get away with the costs of shifting their pollution to the public will do it when regulators can be pressured and pushed by politics.