Wednesday, May 20, 2015

FPL, New Nuclear at Turkey Point, and the Great Escape ... by gimleteye

This morning, according to Reuters, President Obama is planning to address the graduating class of the US Coast Guard Academy:
"You are part of the first generation of officers to begin your service in a world where the effects of climate change are so clearly upon us," Obama is set to tell the 224 graduating cadets, according to excerpts from his prepared remarks.

"Climate change will shape how every one of our services plan, operate, train, equip, and protect their infrastructure, today and for the long-term," Obama will say.

The Pentagon is assessing the vulnerability to climate change of its 7,000 bases, installations and facilities, many of which are on the coast, the White House said.
So why isn't what is good for the Pentagon, also good for the nation's electric utilities?

Here is a question for FPL and for NextEra Energy, its corporate parent. If the Pentagon is being required -- as a matter of common sense economics and national security -- to assess its assets for vulnerability to climate change, why aren't you (FPL) requiring the same of your nuclear facility and planned new nuclear reactors at Turkey Point?

The question of vulnerability is not just to the nuclear infrastructure. FPL has prepared an environmental impact statement for its new nuclear reactors, saying there is "no vulnerability" since the reactors are being elevated on enormous pads more than twenty feet above surrounding sea level. Vulnerability assessments, though, to sea level rise in South Florida need to take into account what will happen to the rate payer base from which both FPL's assets and profitability depends.

Why is this important? Because someone (ie. FPL) will have to be responsible for maintaining the economic viability of nuclear reactors. A vulnerability assessment ought to contemplate what happens to the FPL ratepayer base in South Florida that will begin to buckle under the pressure of climate change long before sea levels rise to intolerable heights. Why? Poor planning on roadways, sewerage, and water infrastructure could have drastic impacts on real estate markets in South Florida within the service lifetimes of the new $26 billion reactors.

The failure of FPL to adequately plan for environmental problems at its existing Turkey Point reactors is enshrined in the public record. Consider that FPL cannot deal with just a small rise in temperatures in its cooling canal system for its existing nuclear reactors at Turkey Point, for which its engineers have no solution except to tap into Florida water resources that are already committed to people's drinking water needs in South Florida. (That is also today's story in the Miami Herald.)

With such unplanned and un-manageable crisis at hand, why isn't anyone asking the tough questions of FPL now, or, is it just the case that FPL considers itself and its planning even more protected, sacrosanct, and immune to the influence of climate change or accountability to the public than the Pentagon?

The answer is that there is too much money being made, right now, from early cost recovery of the planning and marketing of its new nuclear reactors. For this, thank Gov. Rick Scott, Agriculture Secretary Adam Putnam, the rest of the Executive Branch and the Florida legislature. FPL needs to be held accountable. Hello? Anyone?

Perhaps President Obama ought to consider an Executive Order requiring the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to require the nation's electric utilities to provide vulnerability assessments to its business models based on climate change scenarios. My guess is that many of the utilities have already undertaken such analyses: they are just being held secret behind corporate veils ... you know, the kind that aren't available to people.


Geniusofdespair said...

33. Enter an Order authorizing short-term water withdrawals by Florida Power and Light from the L-31E Canal System; Miami-Dade County, Florida. (REG, Sharon Trost, REG, ext. 6814)

Florida Power and Light (FPL) submitted an application for a consumptive use permit to withdraw water from the L-31E Canal in excess of what is needed to meet the reservation for the Nearshore Central Biscayne Bay. FPL described this application as a short-term solution to reduce temperature and salinity in the Turkey Point Cooling Canal System ("CCS") while its request to modify its site certification with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection is pending. The pending site certification seeks an increase from the Floridan aquifer system for the purpose of providing water to the CCS.
After discussion with FPL and stakeholders, the District believes the issuance of an Order for short-term authorization to divert and use water, above that reserved in Rule 40E-10.061, F.A.C., from the L-31E Canal System to help moderate the temperatures and salinity occurring in the Turkey Point Cooling Canal System is appropriate. The Order includes specific conditions governing the short-term authorization of water withdrawals and pump operations to ensure that only water over and above the amounts reserved for Biscayne Bay are used and the water resources of the District are protected. The Order also includes monitoring requirements. The authorization granted by the Order shall terminate in 2016.
Staff Recommendation:
Staff recommends the Governing Board enter an Order authorizing short-term water withdrawals by Florida Power and Light from the L-31E Canal System; Miami-Dade County, Florida.

Also approved:

14. Right of Way Regulatory Consent

Staff recommends approval of a request by Florida Power and Light Company ("FPL") (Application Number 15-0123-2) for issuance of Right of Way Occupancy Permit No. 14429 to allow for the placement of pumping facilities for wet season transfer of fresh water from L-31E into the cooling canal system of FPL's Turkey Point power plant for a two (2) year period, and waiver of the District's criteria to allow for the temporary placement of above-ground facilities (pipes, pumps and related equipment) and hazardous materials (temporary fuel tanks) within the east right of way of L-31E immediately north of SW 344th Street (Palm Drive) and extending approximately one mile south of Palm Drive. Location: Miami-Dade County, Section 20 & 29, Township 57 South, Range 40 East.

Anonymous said...

For understanding the reasoning to your question of "why this happens", please post Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse's recent 100th speech concerning climate change legislation on the Senate floor.

He is one of the few elected politicians who have refused to become worn down by the campaign of climate change deniers.

Anonymous said...

Folks yet again FPL is requesting more water for turkey points cooling canals . This is ridiculous when are people going to stand and say enough . This county is spiraling out of control between waterfront property being given away for free and mega malls to pinerockland being destroyed to MDX proposing an expressway on the Everglades eastern border . When is this nightmare going to stop !!! And Biscayne national park will continue to suffer without freshwater.