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Turkey Point Nuclear Power Plant public hearings this week: Speak your mind

Thursday, July 15, 2010 the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission will

Turkey Point Nuclear Power Plant

conduct two public scoping meetings regarding the Turkey Point nuclear power plant combined license application for Units 6 and 7. There will be two open house(s): 12:00 – 1:00pm and 6:00 – 7:00 pm. at the Homestead YMCA, 1034 Northeast 8th. Street, Homestead, Florida.

Staff presentations will begin at 1:00 pm and again at 7:00 pm followed by public comments. Each session may continue up to 3 hours. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) invites you to attend a public meeting to provide comments on the scope of the environmental review for the combined license (COL) application for Turkey Point Units 6 and 7 submitted by Florida Power and Light. For more information contact Andrew Kugler, NRC Project Manager at (800) 368-5642 (ext. 2828) or by email at . Click for U.S. NRC website

It seems auspicious that these public meetings are scheduled when most of us are anxiously waiting to find out if the 150,000 lbs. cap will be placed securely enough to stop the massive oil spill that is now into day 84. You need to attend these meeting(s) and let the NCR know that nuclear power is not considered a viable source of energy anymore than oil or coal. The messge must be sent loud and clear both to the state and to the federal government. Secretary Salazar should expand his announced moratorium on deepwater oil drilling today and include nuclear power as well. If safety is the reason for the moratorium then they need to address the hazards of nuclear power. Hopefully, if nothing else the oil spill in the Gulf has taught us to address the problem before it becomes a problem. Do we really need to wait for another accident in a different industry? Did the Three Mile Island melt down teach us nothing?

So President Obama, Vermont, who voted for you, got it. On February 24, 2010, the Vermont State Senate voted to retire the Vermont Yankee Nuclear plant“owned by the Louisiana based corporation Entergy. Despite Entergy’s efforts to renew the license for the 40-year-old reactor, the Vermont Senate voted to shut down the nuclear plant as scheduled in 2012. The final vote was 26-4.

This vote may be followed by a vote in the House of Representatives. If either body votes to deny an extension of a certificate of good (the equivalent of a state license), – as the Senate has -the plant must shut down. Vermont is unique in that it is the only state in which the legislature has the ability to vote to shut a plant and this historic vote will mark the first time a plant has been closed by a state legislature.

A host of problems have plagued the Vermont nuclear plant, from missing fuel rods to the collapse of cooling towers to the uncontrolled and unmonitored releases of radiation into the groundwater. On Monday, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) acknowledged yet another radioactive leak from the reactor in 2005. The NRC is currently investigating allegations by Vermont Yankee employees about radioactive leaks from underground piping. (Greenpeace article 3.25.10).”

Another article which ran on April 22, 2010:
“The nuclear reactor design that Florida Power & Light picked for its expansion at Turkey Point has safety flaws that its manufacturers and federal regulators have overlooked, according to a technical analysis commissioned by environmental groups.

The report — made public Wednesday — contends that the reactor’s steel-walled containment vessel, the protective barrier from radiation, is more vulnerable to developing rust and holes than older reactors. That, coupled with the design of its emergency cooling system, could multiply exposure risks in the event of an accident, the report concludes.

Arnold Gundersen, a nuclear engineer who produced the report for a dozen national and regional environmental groups, said during a teleconference that the AP 1000 design by the Westinghouse Electrical Co. was “entirely different” from older designs and also “inherently less safe.” (by curtis morgan .

Germany has passed a law that orders all nuclear power plants to cease by the year 2020.

So now, despite President Obama’s economically unsound announcement in the middle of March of  $8.3 billion dollars in loan guarantees to build the first new nuclear plant in thirty years in Georgia, the illusion of a nuclear renaissance is going to suffer a setback with the vote in Vermont.

An open letter to President Obama-

You know, we thought that when one of the “good guys” got elected into office that we could all breathe a sigh of relief. That collective “we” are like-minded individuals, organizations and businesses that work toward the better good for all the many times of putting our own existence at some level of risk but then, no…

Perhaps before you decided to run for president and then while campaigning your idea of what the right thing to do was clear. It seems that the rhetoric and bureaucracy that makes up our governmental system has clouded your ideals and at least in the environmental arena is leaving you a little bit like the tarnished prize on the shelf. If your ideas are clear then decisions should become very easy to make and steps to achieve goals clearly outlined, if not to everyone else, at least to yourself. This is when your intelligent and persuasive speaking skills make you the leader we all would like to follow. However, lately your positions on clean energy which should read renewable energy are not consistent with the same thinking that was encapsulated in the campaign slogan, “Yes, we can.”

Yes, we can what? Turn back the clock on environmental progress thirty years. The proliferation of nuclear plants and the thinking that this was an inexpensive way to provide electricity was stopped in the 1980′s because it is dangerous and unviable. I may get into a lot of trouble for this but if I close my eyes and forget your name I would think I was listening to another president speaking who maybe was not as effective as you might be in single-handedly undoing environmental progress in such a life-threatening manner.

Yet, where is the logic in this? You have on your staff a leader for the EPA, Lisa Jackson, who seems to be adamant in protecting the environment. Are you two speaking to each other because I heard from an interview that your chief of staff is within 40 feet of your office and visits you at least eight times a day. Perhaps she should be receiving the same visiting privileges but then maybe she got the memo because Jackson has come under attack while head of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection of talking big but producing little results.

Your bailout of the auto industry was tremendously expensive, not only to our budget but to our national spirit as well. While I would never claim to have all the answers, I think that an out-of-the-box approach to addressing the financial woes of the auto industry addressed in the article, Punctuated equilibrium vs. phyletic gradualism, sustainable evolution of the auto industry, should provide a pause to consider. If the auto industry had been ordered to only produce the next generation of sustainable transportation, maybe then we could actually move forward and begin to catch up to the world in terms of renewable energy, not our poiticized definition of clean energy.

The USGBC, US Green Building Council, is looked to as a leader in green building and in best sustainable practices. They have a very clear definition of renewable energy: solar, wind, biomass, low impact hydro, biofuels, non-nuclear, wave or tidal. These are clearly identified in their reference manuals.

Scientific American magazine published an article in November 2009, A PLAN FOR A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE, How to get all energy from Wind Water and Solar Power by 2030. It seems that this should be required bedside reading material.

Florida is currently under attack as are coastal states to live up to your State of the Union speech that we need to make tough choices regarding oil and natural gas drilling. Perhaps if you go back to the article regarding what maybe should have happened to the auto industry then this would be a moot point. It is disturbing that my own teenage son got it, the understanding that when you take away our unparalleled demand for crude oil that an amazing set of beneficial consequences begin to domino, perhaps even providing jobs that address the needs of the future rather that bolstering a system that is in desperate need of being retired.

Climate change is not a matter of opinion. I look to Leonard Pitts Jr. a columnist that is in the Miami Herald. In the article “Facts no longer mean what they once did,” Pitts writes about when did facts become a matter of someone’s opinion. It is a fact that there is a sun. It may be my opinion and that of many world renowned scientists and perhaps the rest of the world, that this alone could probably produce all the energy we could ever want or need and them some. Maybe the reasons why the polar caps are melting are not important but the fact remains that they are. Greenland has gone from being excited by receding ice revealing precious minerals to a concern that the world will stampede their small, lightly populated country in the name of greed.

With everything that our planet has been challenged with, you would think we would have learned something from this but it appears not. Our president, who not so long ago won the Nobel Peace Prize, one of the most coveted prizes in the world, stands before us and puts our money where his mouth is and takes us back, not forward, thirty years to declare that nuclear power will provide clean, safe energy and jobs. It seems that a committed $8.3 billion dollars into renewable energy and research, which is critical, would go a long way to creating many more jobs as well. Though maybe we all missed the point, and when the accidents happen and they will, we will create jobs to clean it all up?

In Florida, FPL is intent on building two new nuclear power plants in a state and particularly in our area South Florida, that is being dramatically impacted by climate change. Streets already flood in Miami, in Fort Lauderdale and other coastal areas during high tide that were previously unaffected. We cannot build a sea wall to protect us because the limestone that principally makes up our land allows percolation of the seawater, even into our inland areas. FPL is fully aware of this and intends to build one of the new nuclear power plants in Turkey Point  28-feet  higher than would be required, fully anticipating rising sea levels. Plagued with problems at their Turkey Point power plant, the energy portfolio of FPL comprises 1% solar (actually listed as other) and 14% nuclear among other sources.

While working on the Broward 2030 Report, we identified one of the means to produce effective results was the support of a champion. President Obama, you are supposed to be that champion. An intelligent, well educated leader who was willing to take the higher road, to make the tough choices. We have made the tough choices by being responsible citizens who question where your environmental leadership is taking us and we are dissenting. It is time to find your vision and stop listening to lobbyists and letting big business bully you into irresponsible environmental positions.

By the way, since I am still effectively un/underemployed I am willing to serve as an adviser. We can meet next to my house which is within injury range of two nuclear power plants. Better yet, let’s build one right in the heart of Washington D.C. because we know accidents never happen. If it is safe enough for me, my family and everyone else, then surely you wouldn’t mind living near one either.

Hope you having a sun-sensational day!

Valerie J. Amor

Interested in becoming involved on a local level to promote awareness of energy generation that is actually good for us?

Green League of Broward, 350.0rg, USGBC South Florida Chapter, Sierra Club Broward, Surfrider Foundation Broward County Chapter is just a start. Think global, act local.

Want to know where your local reactor is? Are you within injury range? then click here. I live within injury range of two nuclear plants Turkey Point 3 and 4 and if applications 6 and 7 are approved then two more.

According to Greenpeace -

“What does living within injury range mean for me?

The zone for peak early injuries is the area surrounding a plant in which radiation-related injuries are expected to occur following an accident. This includes only injuries that would require hospitalization or other medical attention – such as sterility, thyroid nodules, vomiting and cataracts.

Government data estimates that an accident at Turkey Point 3 would lead to 29,000 deaths and 45,000 injuries within a year, as well as 4,000 cancer deaths over the lifetime of the exposed population. The cost of such an accident was predicted to be $43 billion in 1980.”

About Valerie J. Amor:
As an architectural consultant, LEED AP, LEED certification reviewer, real estate broker and AIA associate, Valerie J. Amor is dynamically engaged in sustainability and issues regarding the built environment. Actively participating in several local, county and national organizations and committees focused on sustainability issues, she is also owner/principal of Drawing Conclusions and founder/president of Green Collar Connection, companies engaged in sustainable design, real estate development, green job training and research. Knowledgeable and well connected she brings you timely and thoughtful articles. Reach her at .

Related posts:

  1. PSC talking about cost of nuclear power plant in S. Florida today
  2. PSC Approves Stipulation for FPL Nuclear Cost Recovery
  3. FPL customers to pay for proposed nuclear plants
  4. Turkey Point Nuclear Cost Recovery Hearing Begins Tuesday
  5. FPL approved for $62 million cost recovery on nuclear plants; bills to go up (again…)

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Posted by Valerie J. Amor on Jul 13 2010. Filed under Broward County, Emerging Green, Environmental, FPL, Federal Government, Fort Lauderdale, Local news, Miami. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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