Irma Storm: Two Nuclear Plants in Florida in Danger of Getting Shut Down

Officials at Florida Power & Light’s two nuclear plants were finalizing their plans and cleaning up their grounds on Wednesday, but no one made the call on when to shut down

Spokesman for FPL, Peter Robbins, said that shutting down a reactor is not something you do on the spot. It is a gradual process, and the decision needs to be made “well in advance”.

“If we anticipate there will be direct impacts on either facility, we’ll shut down the units,” Robbins told the Miami Herald.

“Based on the current track, we would expect severe weather in Florida starting Saturday, meaning we would potentially shut down before that point,” he told Reuters in an email.

Turkey Point and St. Lucie plants are equally protected, according to Robbins. FPL has been defending the safety of its nuclear plants for a long time, as both of them are exposed to the strongest winds and storms.

Robbins also mentioned that Turkey Point plant’s reactors sit 20 feet above sea level, and has backup generators, extra fuel and replacement parts and materials that can be flown in from Tennessee, as “a backup to the backup.”

On the other hand, St. Lucie is just as protected. Robbins says that it can withstand severe flooding from storm surges, and that it has survived Hurricanes Frances and Jeanne in 2005, and also Wilma the year following that.

“For the top of the plant to be underwater … if there were flooding on the plant, we could absolutely stay safe,” Robbins told TC Palm. “We designed the plant to handle that, the systems at the plant to handle that.”