Tuesday, October 9, 2018

How Many Hurricanes Can by Sustained by Florida's Nuclear Reactors?

Hurricane Michael is bearing down on Florida. There is no news about the impacts on specific nuclear plants, such as Turkey Point. Here are the results of a google search:

One has to wonder how many hurricanes Florida's nuclear power plants can bear without a catastrophic accident?

Florida's nuclear infrastructure is old and has outlasted expected life-cycles.

The Westinghouse reactors at southeast Florida's Turkey Point Nuclear Generating station date back to the late 1960s and early 1970s  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turkey_Point_Nuclear_Generating_Station

Florida's reactors have been exposed to extreme conditions. According to this Miami Herald news report, Turkey Point took a major hit in 1992 from Hurricane Andrew  (Dahlberg, Sep 9 2017 here). You can read an official report from 1992 here: https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/10158520

In 2017, Turkey Point was in the pathway for Hurricane Irma (here).

Florida Power and Light owns Turkey Point and also the St. Lucie Nuclear Power Plant. During Hurricane Irma, Florida Power and Light, promised to operate reactors prudentially, as illustrated in this anonymous quote attributed to the company in the Dahlberg Miami Herald article from 9/9 2017 cited above:

 FPL said. “Safety is and will remain our top priority.” (here).
After Hurricane Irma, Newsweek reported that Turkey Point did NOT operate safely during the hurricane: 
Melina Delkic (9/11/17) Florida Nuke Plant Did Not Meet Fed Safety Guidelines as Irma Roaredhttps://www.newsweek.com/turkey-point-nuclear-plant-hurricane-irma-663188
The Turkey Point nuclear plant in Homestead, along the southeast Florida coast, experienced an unrelated failure in one reactor's cooling system during the storm. A part called the steam generator's feed regulating valve failed on Sunday night, prompting engineers to shut down the reactor. The cooling system malfunction did not cause any radiation leakage, according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
According to Newsweek, Turkey Point's cooling pumps - the ones that ensure reactor fuel is cooled - are housed in rooms that  “do not have a roof and are exposed to the rainfall."

The rooms without roofs can be drained with diesel-fueled pumps if the pumps work, adequate diesel is available, and if pumps are sufficient for deluge of water coming down from the sky and flowing across the landscape.

The Newsweek article cites David Lochbaum, director of the Nuclear Safety Project for the Union of Concerned Scientists, expresses the risks associated with a disruption in cooling pumps:
"Without Component Cooling Water during an accident, workers must deploy backup to backup systems," he added. "At Fukushima, workers were unable to accomplish this task in time to prevent three reactor cores from overheating."
I'm glad that Newsweek ran this story because it continues to have relevance as hurricanes assault Florida's aging nuclear infrastructures. I recommend reading - (here's the link https://www.newsweek.com/turkey-point-nuclear-plant-hurricane-irma-663188).

Why isn't there any news coverage about nuclear and Hurricane Michael?


  1. The reporters and other news persons probably don't want to feel any more scared than they already are. And if they mention another scary possibility it will get amplified greatly by telling lots of people. This would be the time for your counterpart in Florida to do a TV interview and in a very intellectual fashion suggest there might be a serious problem with the nuclear power plants mingling with hurricanes. But is there such a counterpart?

  2. There is a great deal of psuedo science in America. After over twenty years of study of the various climate theories I can not say that the carbon dioxide theory represents so much science as it does certain kinds of hidden interests. In fact I am fairly confident that we have entered now a period of global cooling. If so then the idea of 15% ethonol year round seems like a very bad idea. It may be great for farmers in Iowa and Nebraska but I imagine their fields are fairly loaded with questionable fertilizer and pesticides. So if the globe cools then corn for food may be of a very low quality from fields used with low standards for many years.

    Today Scott Adams was arguing for more nuclear power to off set global warming due to carbon based fuels as the lesser of two evils. To me this all seems like madness due to bad science.

    It is not too hard to cast doubt on the CO2 hypothesis simply by looking at charts and examing data back a few thousand years. Not so long ago the earth was warmer and it did not have all this CO2 to assist the warming. And there are periods with much greater CO2 without catastrophic temperature increases. In fact a little study which any high school student could do would make one wonder what the whole global warming thing is really about? A carbon tax?

  3. Perhaps if I called it toxic science instead of psuedo science it would be more intelligible? Except a lot of real science does lead to toxic results llke GMO's. The idea that scientists would chear is unsettling.

    Several years ago an emeritus professor of physics also claimed a health benefit from radioactivity. So we may have a solution for nuclear waste right in plain sight; just distribute the stuff to each household and make bracelets of the waste.
    Voila! Problem solved.