Monday, December 15, 2008

Turkey Point Nuclear Plant Home to One-Fifth of the Nation's Crocodiles

Florida Power & Light (operator of Turkey Point) has the best idea when it comes to nuclear plant security: host hundreds of crocodiles. ;-) National Wildlife Federation took notice of the crocs in their October/November issue:

In the 1970s, engineers designed a 6,800-acre system of canals to cool the power plant. In doing so, they also inadvertently created a crocodile Eden, closed off from the rest of the world and well-stocked with everything the animals need. So for the few people who work along the canals, and the even fewer who are able to visit the heavily guarded facility, the rare and reclusive animals are about as accessible as pigeons in a park—if a bit more dangerous. The shelter provided by the power plant and other protected habitat is a big part of why the large reptiles, after 30 years on the federal Endangered Species List, were reclassified in 2007 as “threatened.”


In 1978, when a backhoe accidentally uncovered a nest at Turkey Point, FPL realized it would have to take action to preserve the protected animals that were seeking refuge in the power plant’s canals. Soon after, the utility began a monitoring program that has documented the extraordinary breeding success at Turkey Point: In 1985, researchers counted 19 crocodiles older than a year. Ten years later, there were 40. By 2005, the number had soared to 400, says Wasilewski, who took over the monitoring program in 1989. And the growing population is not limited to the power plant. In other well-protected areas, such as Everglades National Park, the crocodile is also flourishing. In the mid-1970s, FWS created a recovery plan for the croc. “Part of the plan said that if there were 60 or more viable nests (throughout the state) in a year, we could consider the species recovered,” says Wasilewski. “We hit 60 nests three years ago.”
Right on. For some reason, though, I don't think terrorists would be afraid of the crocs in the picture above. Oh well.

Here's some of our previous posts on Turkey Point's crocodiles.


Marcel F. Williams said...

It has long been argued that waste heat could have many positive commercial uses beyond just heating and cooling. Waste heat could also be used for sea water desalinization, greenhouse and hydroponic farming and the raising of fish and shellfish in aquaculture farms.

Marcel F. Williams

Anonymous said...

People who were there during the first few cycles told me that the cooling canals also supported a huge population of really big shrimp - employees were scooping bucket loads off the traveling screens and bringing them home. Some made it to the local market, and FPL had to begin treating the coolant to kill the shrimp after the local fishmongers complained !

Anonymous said...

Hmm.... Turkey Point. Wonder what happened to the turkeys. Croc food perhaps?