Thursday, May 07, 2015

Credit the Herald OPED page for opening daylight on FPL's crazy plan to build new nuclear reactors at Turkey Point ... by gimleteye

I'm impressed: the Miami Herald actually printed an OPED critical of FPL's outrageous plan to put $24 billion in new nuclear reactors at Turkey Point, co-written by four of Miami's outstanding public officials willing to stand up to the corporate leviathan. Impressed, because The Miami Herald has been welded to the hip to FPL since the beginning of time.

The one point that the OPED writers miss: FPL argues that its nuclear plant is elevated against the likelihood of sea level rise, but its ratepayer base is not.

Regulators are transfixed by the lower-end estimate of sea level rise, but the radar-image maps do not lie: during the service lifetime of the planned reactors, FPL's rate base will be severely eroded in South Florida. That could happen years before we are literally navigating streets in boats because insurance, mortgages and financing will have rolled up their welcome mats and moved away.

The point: the entire business model of FPL is subject to disruption by climate change. For the time being, it is government-sanctioned policies like "early cost recovery" that compensates FPL executives that are blocking any daylight on these issues -- although the Herald OPED is a new crack in the shield.

How utilities expect to meet the threats of sea level rise and climate change ought to be required reporting by the SEC; not just for FPL and all the nation's publicly owned utilities. (Not to mention, the impact of consumer-level energy storage like the battery planned by Tesla in its new $5 billion manufacturing facility.)

I recommend viewing online the week-long series on sea level rise and Florida, broadcast by MSNBC "The Ed Show" featuring some of Miami's leaders on climate change like Dr. Harold Wanless, chairman of the Department of Geological Sciences at the University of Miami. Begin, by clicking this link and start with "Rising sea levels threaten major cities".

Miami Herald: FPL’s nuclear-power plan regressive, harmful

To contact NRC with your comments (hit "comment now" on right side of page)
Florida Power &Light argues that its new nuclear project is environmentally friendly, that it will benefit us economically, and that its future plans at Turkey Point are safe. Unfortunately, none of these claims are accurate.

FPL is currently seeking approval from the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission for two new nuclear reactors at Turkey Point and miles of 10-story transmission lines in residential Miami-Dade County and downtown Miami.

FPL’s project would reduce the availability of fresh water for our communities, it would commit South Florida to antiquated and expensive nuclear technology from last century, and it would render our electric system vulnerable to storm surges from rising seas. FPL ignores these difficult facts.

Nuclear plants consume vast amounts of water to keep reactors cool. FPL currently accounts for less than 1 percent of the water used in Miami-Dade County, but a nuclear expansion would raise that to 10 percent of water usage. In two decades, the demands on our limited water supply are already projected to skyrocket. FPL emphasizes that the primary cooling system will use reclaimed wastewater. But it ignores the inconvenient fact that its backup cooling system will also draw over 7 billion gallons of water a year from Biscayne Bay and the Biscayne Aquifer, our only source of drinking water, threatening the coastal Everglades, Biscayne National Park, and South Dade well fields. Given the anticipated demands on our shrinking water supply, FPL’s water grab is an irresponsible use of resources.

When the Turkey Point expansion was first proposed, the projected cost was about $7 billion. The latest projections are $20 billion. Nuclear expansion might make sense for FPL’s shareholders but it doesn’t for us.

FPL’s project commits us to expensive nuclear power for the next 60 years without fairly evaluating more cost-effective energy that does not require local storage of radioactive waste. The cheapest, cleanest and safest way to meet our energy needs is through energy conservation and efficiency. Conservation is one-fifth the cost of nuclear generation, yet FPL opposes conservation standards and presses for nuclear, the most expensive and risky investment available. Given the falling prices of solar power and new batteries, we question the wisdom of committing customers to $20 billion worth of last century’s technology, while closing the door on cheaper, safer and more environmentally responsible options.

Florida law allows FPL to charge its customers for the licensing and construction costs for this project. In the past three years, FPL has charged us $209 million. Even if FPL never completes the new reactors, it keeps our money. These charges include new transmission lines in Everglades National Park and the heart of Miami-Dade’s dense commercial and residential neighborhoods. Massive 105-foot tall towers along Dixie Highway would cut through Pinecrest, South Miami, Coral Gables, Coconut Grove, and then Brickell, on their way into downtown Miami, carving tens of millions annually from the county’s tax base and killing thousands of jobs in the process. The proposed transmission lines will not be built to Florida hurricane safety standards. If a tower buckles during a storm, it could destroy the Metrorail and surrounding homes.

The original decision to build nuclear reactors at Turkey Point, on a hurricane-swept coastline vulnerable to storm surge, was made a half a century before we understood climate change and sea-level rise. FPL’s new reactors would operate until 2080, during which, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recommends that power plants account for three feet to 6.6 feet of sea-level rise. FPL’s application accounts for only one foot of sea-level rise for that period, clearly unrealistic given the five inches of sea-level rise measured locally in the past five years.

Even one foot of sea-level rise will inundate the area surrounding Turkey Point and turn the power plant into a remote island. A difference of two feet of sea-level rise will dramatically affect the height of future storm surges. FPL’s assertion that new reactors will be safe from a storm surge because they are 26-feet above “sea level,” overlooks the facts that FPL’s “sea level” standard is 27 years old; and the project does not properly account for realistic storm surge projections. FPL ignores these facts to double down on a dangerous position based on yesterday’s science.

Join us by expressing your objection to FPL’s project as proposed. Contact the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission This federal agency has the most authority over FPL’s project and is required by law to account for public comments submitted before May 22.

Tomás Regalado is mayor of Miami; Cindy Lerner is mayor of Pinecrest; Philip Stoddard is mayor of South Miami; and José Javier Rodríguez is the state representative of District 112.


Anonymous said...

Meanwhile, the "leadership" of Homestead, the community most impacted,sits by with nothing but chatter about jobs and what a good neighbor Turkey Point has been. Not a big surprise, the Mayors best friend, former Councilman and Chief of Police Wannabe, Sean, is in the administration out there. It would not be a surprise to find out that Mayor Jeffie has a history of selling supplies to FPL. Typical of the Homestead Council, live for the here and now rather than seeing or caring beyond the next election.

Anonymous said...

It's "crazy" but lots of Miami bigwigs got paid lots of money already to do their bidding.

Philip Stoddard said...

We got a lot into our 700 words, but not everything. A point that must play significantly in our written responses to the Draft Environmental Impact Statement is this: The NRC has failed to consider how the Southern Waste Water Treatment Facility can continue to generate wastewater to cool the new reactors if the residents who generate that wastewater are themselves flushed out by sea level rise.

Geniusofdespair said...

Here is the comment I left on their site without reading the 700 pages:
Do not License this application. We are having salt water intrusion into the Everglades. Salt water plants are growing there. If there, then everywhere. The tide is rising. We don't want two more nuclear power plants built on fill. The salinity in the cooling canals is too high and the canals are too hot. You are using our precious water to cool the canals more. Israel uses all of its reuse water. In the future we will have to use all of ours as well. If you legislate the water for this plant we won't have it to use for our precious tropical plant agriculture. Did you know that in the continental US Florida is the only place where tropical plants grow. I know I am not supposed to address this but God guys, how are you going to get people in the keys evacuated? There is only one way to go past the plant. There are almost 4 million people in a 50 mile radius. I have yet to hear the evacuation plan. And I have been reading about Japan. They are finding radiation pretty far from the plants. FPL does not take solar power seriously. I would like panels on my house. I am sure lots of others would too.

Until you talk to Harold Wanless Geologist about rising sea water this is really a stupid idea. I just don't think you are thinking straight. I remember 3 mile island. Learn from your mistakes. You are putting entirely too many plants in one place. What do you think we are Japan? I would like you to meet with University of Miami Professor Harold Wanless. I would like you to not allocate anymore water to the plant. I don't have a working Thyroid. A lot of good iodide will do me. Although I would like to try the cherry flavored syrup to see how it tastes (if kids will actually drink it).

You should not require regular people to read technical 25 megabyte files that take so long to load and are 717 pages long. You could have made this much shorter. Let's make it easy for you: No Water, Sea Level Rise, Stupid Idea, Old Technology, Too Much Salinity, Too many people. JAPAN.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate these public officials standing up for our future which logically includes a large investment in solar power.

I have to wonder though why Cutler Bay has been silent on this issue. Under mayors Vrooman and MacDougall we were leaders in the environmental movement. We were the first certified green city in Dade County and began the PACE program. Now, under Peggy Bell, nothing.

Certainly with Turkey Point so close to our community Cutler Bay needs to stand up and be counted as one of the communities against the expansion of Nuclear Power.

Julio Childz said...

I personal have developed a taste for Three eyed glow in the dark grouper, especially in poorly lit places. BTW Fluorescent meat is much tastier than that plain old bland white meat must be something in those isotopes.

Anonymous said...

Guess what happens when you open the top of a nuclear reactor to refuel it. A lot of radiation escapes. Here are the first measurements ever released to the public:
Same thing happens at Turkey Point when we refuel each reactor every 18 months. Hope you don't live downwind.

Anonymous said...

Cutler Bay needs the return of Steven Alexander as village manager to "green up" your municipality. South Miami residents have made it quite clear that they don't want Alexander because of his well known reputation for catering to special interests and his pro-development stance. Please take Alexander, and as a bonus, we'll throw in Stoddard too!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Troll. According to election filings neither Baptist nor its officials contributed to Stoddard's election. The organization has never publicly opposed the FPL transmission lines that would come within feet of South Miami Hospital.

Geniusofdespair said...

Your hate for Stoddard is an obvious vendetta and you are a troll, who I removed. Don't come here to comment, we don't want you.

Anonymous said...

Cutler Bay residents do not want Alexander back, he's your problem now.

As to Stoddard, he at least is standing up against FPL, Cutler Bay's Peggy Bell is not because she is a follower, not a leader, especially when it comes to environmental issues. Plus she has a reputation of NOT listening to the residents. Wish she would look to the future and join this fight against FPL.

Zigmund Fraud said...

I hear that radiation in ze atmosphere creates a general feeling of hostility in humans, which is proven by some ov ze comments seen on dis blog.