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The nuclear industry is trying to double down despite Fukushima. We learned today that the Turkey Point Power Plant has added 400 megawatts to its capacity. Turkey Point is located in one of the most dangerous places in the world to have a nuclear power plant, right in hurricane country. It is located 25 miles south of Miami, which sees its share of hurricanes every year.

Hurricane Katrina killed thousands of people, for those of us with short memories. This is just an accident waiting to happen -- what would have happened if there had been a nuclear plant in the vicinity and it had taken a direct hit from the storm? Note that Turkey Point is located in one of the most heavily populated areas in the country; therefore, a combination of Katrina and Fukushima could possibly unleash one of the worst disasters we have ever experienced here in this country.

Normally, I believe in free enterprise, but when you have disasters like Fukushima, Chernobyl, and Three Mile Island, then there is a compelling public interest in preventing future disasters of the magnitude of these three. The nuclear industry has failed to meet the burden of proof in demonstrating that Turkey Point would be safe in the event of a direct hit from a Katrina-style hurricane. Given that Florida is in the heart of hurricane country, it is not a matter of if, but when such a disaster will strike. And given the fact of scientific man-made global warming, this is a risk that will only grow over time.

It is unacceptable for a nuclear plant to be located in any part of the country where there is substantial risk of tornadoes, earthquakes, or hurricanes unless the utility that wishes to build it meets the burden of proof that such a plant would be safe and that such a plant would be an improvement on existing plants.

Advocates of the nuclear industry present the debate as a false choice between nuclear and coal. But there is a third alternative. Let's put a solar or wind farm in every community in this country and we'll see how much of a handle we can get on our energy needs. There is no danger from mass catastrophe like there is from nuclear plants. Then, we can talk about where we need to go from here.

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Comment Preferences

  •  not is adding, have added and without any new (11+ / 0-)

    reactors.  The upgrade was to the turbine generators and related cooling systems and such...not another reactor so no change in nuclear danger at all, just more efficient use of what is already cooking......

    We just did the same recently replacing the generating units at Palo Verde Nuclear Generating station with upgraded units increasing output considerably without an addition to the actual reactors....

    Vaya con Dios Don Alejo
    I want to die a slave to principles. Not to men.
    Emiliano Zapata

    by buddabelly on Mon Apr 22, 2013 at 10:15:27 AM PDT

    •  Isn't this part of the MOX gig? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      KenBee, buddabelly

      You know, burning 'hotter' plutonium fuel in the same old reactor so as to have enough steam pressure to turn the bigger turbine(s)? Is Turkey Point now burning MOX fuel, or have they received clearance to do so?

      •  No. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        buddabelly, Joieau

        As far as I know, Catawba is the only plant to apply for approval to burn MOX fuel. At any rate, you appear to be confusing MOX's smaller "beta" (delayed neutron fraction) compared to uranium and fuel enrichment. It is the enrichment (in either U-238 or Pu-239) that determines a plant's ability to run at a higher power level over an entire operating cycle. The beta is more relevant to escoteric issues of plant responce under certain accident scenarios.

        DOE has been trying to push MOX on the industry for awhile but for various reasons utilities aren't exactly crawling over each other to get it.  

  •  Considering that anti-nukers like to tell us (5+ / 0-)

    no new nukes have been built in this country for 30 some years, this one must have already been tested wrt surviving hurricanes.

    In any event, just how is a hurricane proposed to damage a nuclear power plant?

  •  Uhh...it already did. (7+ / 0-)

    The plant is built to withstand winds of 235 mph.

    It was hit by Hurricane Andrew in 1992 - a class 5 by the way - which caused external damage but did not nothing to the containment building.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/...

    Look, I tried to be reasonable...

    by campionrules on Mon Apr 22, 2013 at 10:32:52 AM PDT

  •  Recent Incident at La Salle Nuke Near Chicago (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Joieau

    http://pissinontheroses.blogspot.com/...

    Most interesting to me is the report that the radiation monitors at the plant were not functioning at the time of release so we don't have good data on how much radiation escaped.  

    If we had a system of off-site public access monitoring independent of the power companies this would not be a problem.  Near 30 years ago, the folks around TMI were calling for such a program.  Their estimate then was a cost of about $100,000 per plant, if I recall correctly. (SafeCast in Tokyo has developed a citizens' radiation monitoring system in Japan and is now expanding their work to the US.  I have been trying to get them interested in monitoring methane leaks as well, so far with little success.)

    To my knowledge, none of the Fukushima-style reactors in the US have been thoroughly upgraded based upon the experiences of that accident.  Spent fuel pools are still without containment and transfer to dry cask storage has not significantly increased.  The nuclear industry is vehemently fighting any new regulations and former NRC chair Jaczko has called for the phase-out of the 104 currently operating reactors.  

    But, of course, Jaczko has no credibility and no idea what he is talking about
    < /snark >

    Solar is civil defense. Video of my small scale solar experiments at solarray.

    by gmoke on Mon Apr 22, 2013 at 10:40:48 AM PDT

    •  Maybe they could start their own system? (0+ / 0-)
      If we had a system of off-site public access monitoring independent of the power companies this would not be a problem.  Near 30 years ago, the folks around TMI were calling for such a program.
      Amazon will get you started: Geiger Counters - Huge Selection, Great Prices
    •  Ah, but it's Jaczko's reasoning (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      KenBee

      that is most pertinent to all this. His primary complaint is that the technology itself is inherently dangerous - because you can't really turn these suckers off once they've been turned on. It's such a primary issue that no amount of retrofitting would ever cure it, ALL of our nuclear plants present an unacceptable danger due to this engineering stupidity.

      Which is pretty much what I've been saying for nearly 35 years - if you can't turn 'em off, you've no business turning them on.

      So. Now they're putting the whole MOX fuel scam into overdrive. Guess they must think that'll somehow bail 'em out of their inability to convince people anymore that dying of cancer sometime down the road is a fine price to pay for toasted bagels in the morning. I call that premeditated random murder. Just a cost-benefit analysis in which human beings aren't nearly as valuable as corporate profit.

    •  There was no "release". (0+ / 0-)

      Also, plants are already required to conduct offsite environmental monitoring, such as obtaining milk samples and testing soil samples offsite. States also have environmental monitoring programs (although I don't know they are necessarily specifically directed at monitoring nuclear plants). They have expertise at radiation monitoring in general as radiation can come from sources other than nuclear plants. Radioactive substances, after all, are commonly used in medicine and industry. The exit signs in lots of old buildings contain oodles of tritium as just one example.  

  •  Credibility Absent (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FG, erush1345, alain2112

    OK, it's a small detail, but Turkey Point is SOUTH of Miami.  The rest of what the author says here is similarly WRONG.

    Advice to all readers:  IGNORE THIS BULLSHIT!!  It is mostly fabricated hyperbole with virtually no relationship to facts.  It is hysterical ranting of someone who has emotionally come to believe that nuclear power is bad.  There is no reasoning with people like this because they have come to believe what they believe by irrational thought processes.

    I will not argue with the author here.  That would be pointless.

    Someday soon Republicans are going to drown Grover Norquist - in a bathtub.

    by nuketeacher on Mon Apr 22, 2013 at 10:56:00 AM PDT

    •  Awww! Did this diary (0+ / 0-)

      hurt your itty feewings?

      •   Joieau, you know this 'diary' is (0+ / 0-)

        nonsense. I don't defend stupid pro-nuclear crap, you shouldn't defend sh*t when it shows up on your side of the argument.

        Dr. Isaac Asimov: "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny ...'"

        by davidwalters on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 08:08:37 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Au contraire, mon ami! (0+ / 0-)

          I think there's a significant issue with nukes and big storms (inland or on the coast), as well as with sea level rise. Since so many of our coastal nukes will be flooded, increasingly often, by ever worsening storms. Not to mention what happens when the lights go out.

          I do not forget the fact that the Tuscaloosa tornadoes a couple of years ago caused Station Black-Out for all three antique GE Mark I/IIs at Browns Ferry, or that it took eleven days to get them hooked back up. Luckily only one EDG crapped out, but that was enough to cause some serious concern at unit-1. Which has never been much to brag about in its long lifetime.

          As for the Turkey, I am indeed concerned about an increased power output and exactly what that means. It's as old and decrepit as any of our other past-their-prime (and licensing lifetimes) pressure cookers. 10:1 they've done nothing to ensure the vessel itself can handle the increase, that associated systems are up to the task, etc. It's true that most people don't know that much about the technology to quantify the meaning of stuff like this, but the industry isn't doing better these days with honest information either.

          Thus despite the concerted effort at character assassination, I'll agree with the recently ex-chairman of the NRC - they ALL need to be shut down.

          •  Joieau, you dont get an increase in pressure, you (0+ / 0-)

            get an increase steam flow, which is why the turbines can put out more energy at the same pressure. You need to read the applications. You would find that pressure vessel ratings for both pressure and flow are included and have to be documented that they can stand up to the greater steam flow. The weaker points are not the RPV but the tubes within it (increased velocity can lead to leaks at the u-bends) and the main steam leads to the turbine itself. The vessel can usually stand many times the small incremental pressure increases.

            These not past their prime as the ability of these reactors to go beyond their license period is well established. At any rate, the sooner the AP1000s can get built then the flexibility to decommission the older plants is in order (so long as they can't run another 20 years ago. Don't bet they won't).

            Dr. Isaac Asimov: "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny ...'"

            by davidwalters on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 12:59:14 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  We all know there's a "slight (0+ / 0-)

              difference of opinion" about the safety of nukes between the for-profit industry and the people who are honestly concerned about the many things that can go wrong - and occasionally do. People get to make up their own minds about that, no doubt you'll convince some. I've probably never convinced anybody of anything in my life. So it's not like you've got any real competition.

              If I had my d'ruthers you wouldn't get another 20 years. I'd let them all go straight to decommissioning now that their design basis lifetimes are over just for the 'new and improved' plate tectonics knowledge nobody believed in when they built the suckers. Though I'd go ahead and immediately shut down all the Fukushima look-alikes right now, as Germany righteously did. Not that I don't know y'all have lots and lots of bullshit arguments about how Fukushima demonstrated just how perfectly safe these suckers really are. I heard those same damned arguments about TMI2 back in the day. Wasn't true then, isn't true now.

              But do keep on trying. Lord knows trying to hawk nukes in a place like DKos is a thankless job...

              •  Don't be blind...are numbers increasing as (0+ / 0-)

                every rec and poll has shown. MORE importantly, pro-nuclear sentiment is again increasing despite the lies told about nuclear.

                Oh yeah...those tsunamis in Bavaria...gotta watch out for those.

                Dr. Isaac Asimov: "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny ...'"

                by davidwalters on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 02:36:35 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

  •  Hurricane Andrew hit north of Turkey Point (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eternal Hope

    Therefore Turkey Point was spared a direct eyewall hit. I live just over 12 miles north from Turkey Point - the eyewall came on shore to the east of me - ocean water came in nearly a mile, almost to US 1, and then receded very rapidly - there is more slope to the shore there than down at Turkey Point, which had little flooding, just winds to contend with.  The decision to idle those two reactors was made so close to the time the hurricane arrived, that there was not much margin for shutting them down.  It left them still pretty hot, with a major hurricane boring in on them.  Fortunately, the storm edged further north, putting the nukes on the weaker side of the storm's rotation.  

    The biggest risks came from having to rely on diesel generators for backup power when the plant was isolated by the hurricane, to keep the two big nukes cooling down, and also to maintain water circulation in the spent fuel pits.  This happened successfully, but I don't think anyone in the NRC or on the staff of Florida Power & Light had a good night's sleep until they knew with certainty that the lights would stay on.

    Since Hurricane Andrew, I understand that Turkey Point has re-racked its spent fuel pits and now holds significantly more extremely lethal used fuel rods in the holding pits there.  Maybe one of the supporters of nuclear reactors would like to comment on what it would mean if really significant flooding took out the back-up diesel generators at the same time it isolated those power plants.  Just how long can those spent fuel pits sit idle without boiling off their water?  How about the two reactors - how long can they stand by if they are left without water circulating?  

    The prevailing winds in South Florida are from the southeast, so in the event of atmospheric release of radionuclides, we can be fairly sure that a plume would spread over a large populated area.  It would also most likely be carried into and over the Everglades.

    Nuclear power plants use fossil fuels, too - the mining, the enriching, the construction, the related transport - all use oil and/or coal.  There is a turn-around timeframe, when the amount used is finally less than the amount of energy generated - but you can't take carbon back out of the atmosphere by running a nuclear power plant.

    Did I mention our shortage of major highways to evacuate our burgeoning population?  Two interstates, the Florida Turnpike and four US highways leave this area, that I know of - and if all were made one-way and driving on the shoulders too were allowed they would still be inadequate to the task.  And of course, in the event of a hurricane aiming at the southern tip of Florida, the usual practice has been (as was done with Andrew) to evacuate folks from the Florida Keys up to the mainland - closer than ever to Turkey Point.

    The real question is, why do countries like Germany have so much solar energy, and Florida, the "Sunshine State" have so little?  Why do we have power generation from widely spaced mega-plants, fossil fuel and nuclear, rather than intelligently planned alternatives?  

    •  distributed solar in Fla. and my home Az. is a no (0+ / 0-)

      brainer imo.  They should seriously invest in subsidies for solar installation....I have an electric co-op and the rebate is a joke something like 10 cents a watt.....

      However all the distributed solar and wind in the world can't generate baseload power....It is perfect for our climates as the output is at its highest just when demand is greatest but for many climates I really wonder if the dollars spent are worth it in the end......

      I think for Baseload power in areas where hydro is unavailable and no geothermal,  that our next safest choice is nuclear.

      I would really like to see the next generation Pebble Beds and other more inherently safe designs used and built quickly and heavily.

      The sooner we are off coal the sooner we can start to get a handle on global weirding......

      Vaya con Dios Don Alejo
      I want to die a slave to principles. Not to men.
      Emiliano Zapata

      by buddabelly on Mon Apr 22, 2013 at 02:45:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  A few points. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      nuketeacher, Roadbed Guy

      The life cycle carbon footprint for nuclear power is widely accepted to be on par with renewables. To produce the same amount of electricity in a year as a nuclear plant requires hundreds of wind turbines that are each made of steel and require massive concrete foundations to prevent the turbines from toppling over like trees in a high wind. In all, the amount of steel and concrete used in each is about the same.

      Germany gets a little over 20% of its electricity from renewables but the feed-in tarifs are such that Germany pays the second highest rates for electricity in Europe (the highest being Denmark which gets 28% of its electricity from wind) and still manages to have much higher CO2 emissions per capita and per unit of GDP than France, which gets most of its electricity from nuclear.

      From the rhetoric on this site it is apparent that "progressives" fear nuclear power more than global warming. You can work to replace nuclear power with renewables but then you are just running in place with respect to reducing carbon emissions. If liberals really took global warming seriously they would work to replace fossil fuels first.

    •  The re-racking was to allow for more spent fuel (0+ / 0-)

      from the reactors. Largely because anti-nukes have never, ever, come up with a solution acceptable to them for SNF. And it's quite safe. The issue is not all the spent fuel, it's the last 2 batches going about 2 fuel changes, or 36 months.

      The diesels there are located above grade, away from any possible flooding.

      Turkey Point is East of Homestead. We remember what happened to Homestead. The idea that that there was nothing to this vis-a-vis that hurricane and the plant, as you imply, is wrong. If you look at a statelite photo around the plant, it was one big brown smear. A water tanks was completely blown away and there was some damage to the non-nuclear plants that are there.

      Since this time, they've hardened the fuel tanks (way before fukushima), though in opinion they should be raised anyway, at least 2 meters but that's another discussion.

      Turkey Point is applying to build 2 AP1000s for a total of additional 2200 MWs. With this they could shut their dirty gas turbines that exist on site and, almost all the older gas plants in south Florida. That would be great.

      David

      Dr. Isaac Asimov: "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny ...'"

      by davidwalters on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 08:20:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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