News Feature | March 29, 2016

Nuclear Plant Polluting Florida Drinking Water

Sara Jerome

By Sara Jerome,

Pollution from a nuclear power plant in Florida is endangering the drinking water supply and a nearby national park.

Florida Power & Light’s (FPL) reactors at Turkey Point, near Biscayne Bay and the Everglades national parks, were built to provide power for the growing needs of Miami, according to The New York Times.

But now, a study commissioned by the county “concluded that Turkey Point’s old cooling canal system was leaking polluted water into Biscayne Bay,” the report said.

“This latest test, critics say, raise new questions about what they’ve long suspected: That canals that began running too hot and salty the summer after FPL overhauled two reactors to produce more power could also be polluting the bay,” the Miami Herald reported.

“Samples of the water at various depths and sites around the power plant showed elevated levels of salt, ammonia, phosphorous and tritium, a radioactive isotope that is found in nature but also frequently associated with nuclear power plants. The tritium, which was found in doses far too low to harm people, serves as a marker for scientists, enabling them to track the flow of canal water out from under the plant and into the bay. The tritium levels in December and January were much higher than they should be in ocean water,” The New York Times reported.

Laura Reynolds of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) weighed in on the findings. Her group has stated it will sue FPL as a result of the contamination, according to National Parks Traveler.

“This study confirms that Florida Light & Power (FPL) miscalculated the impact uprating Turkey Point’s reactors to generate more power would cause. So this self-inflicted emergency has caused uncontrollable temperatures and an algal bloom and very high salinities. And FPL’s self-prescribed remedy for this emergency, sanctioned by the Department of Environmental Protection and the South Florida Water Management, has now moved that plume into the surface waters of a National Park further violating the law,” Reynolds said in a statement.

“Why can’t we make FPL downrate this system to bring it back into balance? They continue to make record profits while our water supply gets loaded with at least 600,000 pounds of salt daily and our national park is polluted and drinking water is threatened,” she continued.

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