News Feature | January 23, 2017

Despite Controversy, Florida Power Moves Forward With Injection Plan

Dominique 'Peak' Johnson

By Peak Johnson


2016 was a tough year for Floridians and their drinking water and it seems that even in the new year, problems are continuing.

According to the Miami New Times, in December Florida Power and Light (FPL) was moving forward with plans “to inject radioactive waste into the Floridian Aquifer's lowest zone over the next few decades, after building two new nuclear reactors in South Florida.”

Environmentalists had argued that this plan could leak “carcinogens such as cesium, strontium 90, and tritium” into South Florida's largest drinking water source. The Citizens Allied for Safe Energy (CASE) filed a formal petition to hold a hearing in order to stop FPL’s plan. Their legal petition was tossed out earlier this month.

According to U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) documents obtained by the New Times, “CASE's petition was dismissed for being filed ‘inexcusably late’ in FPL's application process.”

"This was thrown out on procedural grounds," CASE's president, Barry J. White, said. "The science is still there."

The issues stem from the company's plan to construct two nuclear reactors by the year 2030.

FPL told the NRC “that it plans to store contaminated water used to clean the reactors, as well as radioactive waste in the Boulder Zone.”

In October, the NRC issued a report, stating FPL's plan would pose "no environmental impacts" to the South Florida environment.

On November 28, “CASE filed a legal petition demanding that the NRC hold a hearing on FPL's radioactive waste plan.” CASE claimed that the government failed to address a host of concerns about the power company's plan.

An FPL spokesperson provided the following statement to the New Times:

After an exhaustive and comprehensive review of the proposed Turkey Point Units 6 & 7 project, including the plans to safely use reclaimed water for cooling, the independent Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s staff concluded '…there are no environmental impacts to preclude issuing Combined Licenses to build and operate two reactors next to the existing Turkey Point nuclear power plant.

But CASE's November complaint “cited both government data and FPL's own engineers, who admitted in separate hearings that waste could leak upward from the Boulder Zone into the Biscayne Aquifer.”

Since filing that complaint, “CASE also uncovered yet another government study, which confirms the Boulder Zone can leak into ‘underground sources of drinking water’ in South Florida.”

For similar stories visit Water Online’s Source Water Contamination Solutions Center.

Image credit: "Salem and Hope Creek Nuclear Reactors" Peretz Partensky © 2012 used under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license: