Friends of the Earth Presses Case Against License Renewal for Aging Turkey Point Nuclear Reactors
HOMESTEAD, FL – Friends of the Earth will be appear before the Nuclear Regulatory Commission Atomic Safety and Licensing Board in an hearing today, regarding Florida Power and Light’s controversial request to operate the aging Turkey Point nuclear reactors for an unprecedented eighty years. Friends of the Earth has warned that operating the outdated nuclear reactors, which sit on Florida’s Atlantic Coast, only some 25 miles outside downtown Miami, into midcentury would be a “disaster waiting to happen” given the expected risks of climate change-driven sea level rise, coastal inundation, superstorms and increased heat and drought.
“The 1960-era nuclear reactors at Turkey Point already pose a risk to public health and the environment given their old age and outdated design,” said Friends of the Earth’s Damon Moglen. “It is courting disaster to propose operating these decrepit reactors for decades longer when we know that they will be subjected to the dramatic effects of climate change, including sea level rise, coastal inundation and superstorms.”
The ASLB hearing is part of the preliminary process by which FP&L’s unprecedented request to operate the Turkey Point reactors for a second licensing period, from the mid- 2030s to the mid-2050s, will be considered. The license application is historic in that no other US nuclear power reactor, nor indeed any in the world, has requested and received the go ahead to operate for 60 – 80 years. Commercial nuclear reactors in the U.S. were designed and licensed to operate for a forty-year lifetime. If the NRC were to grant FP&L’s request, the Turkey Point reactors, which were constructed in the 1960s and began operation in the early 1970s, would be allowed to operate for forty years longer than their original design lifetime and in a coastal area which has been designated as at grave risk from climate change impacts never considered when the reactors were originally designed.
“No one would suggest building new nuclear reactors on Florida’s Atlantic coast miles from a population center like Miami, so why in the world would the utility seek to operate these antiquated reactors for decades more to come,” said Dave Freeman, former head of the Tennessee Valley Authority under President Carter, and the Senior Advisor to Friends of the Earth. “Extending the lifetime of these reactors makes no sense when we already have safe, clean, and cheaper renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies that could immediately be used in Florida to replace Turkey Point.”