Skip to main content

Down Florida Way

Tom Fanning-BS1 cc 280 Doings in Florida -

Officials from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission were holding a public meeting Wednesday on their review of the St. Lucie County nuclear power plant on Hutchinson Island.

But:

According to Florida Power & Light spokesman Mark Waldron, this is an annual review, and the NRC has already told FPL in a letter that there are "no issues with the plant."

Yawn! Even despite Fukushima, one might think the public likely to skip this one. Yet it might be quite interesting.

---

And here’s why it might be interesting:

Their [Turkey Point and St Lucie’s] job is done. However, the used, or "spent," fuel rods have not gone anywhere. They're still at the St. Lucie and Turkey Point nuclear plants, they're still close to population centers on water and they're still radioactive. The pile of waste continues to grow.

“The pile of waste?” Sound like it was put in barrels in the back yard, doesn’t it? It takes awhile for the story to get to this:

[FPL spokesman Michael] Waldron said FPL's plants have multiple redundant systems to ensure there is adequate power to operate the spent fuel pool cooling systems.

[James] Tulenko, [director of the Florida Laboratory for Development of Advanced Nuclear Fuels and Materials for the University of Florida], said all of Florida's spent fuel pools are next to reactors rather than on top of them [as they are at Fukushima], making them easy to maintain. Dry casks are safe and require no maintenance, he said.

And the conclusion?

The bottom line, experts say, is that while spent fuel is being stored safely, centralized, secure storage is needed. Until then, every precaution should be taken.

Nothing to disagree with there, but the tone is definitely alarmed enough that that meeting at St. Lucie might pack the hall. Fine. FPL seems well able to make its case.

This is a long article and nicely researched by Susan Salisbury. I wish it were a little less breathless, but these may be breathless times.

---

Thomas Fanning, chairman, president and CEO of Southern Co., gave a wide-ranging speech on energy to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He said positive things about nuclear energy, but I actually found his comments on natural gas more interesting:

Fanning said that while the price of natural gas is currently low, making it competitive with coal and renewables, the price is still volatile and is not good for American business.

“If that’s your only future generation resource, then that volatility will only increase,” Fanning said.

He also said that hydraulic fracturing shale formations to recover natural gas is economical but can cause environmental problems.

This falls outside our brief, still I hadn’t run across such comments from an energy executive before. Logically, he’s right: betting on any one energy source makes one a hostage to it – see petroleum – so looking at natural gas wholly can only be seen as a good – for natural gas and for energy policy generally.

Here’s what Fanning said about nuclear energy:

“Rest assured, we will continue to focus on safety and be diligent in making sure that our plants remain as safe and efficient as possible,” Fanning said. “But let's not let politics hinder our progress in this nuclear renaissance. Nuclear energy must remain a part of our future.”

Just so.

Thomas Fanning.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Hurricane Harvey Couldn't Stop the South Texas Project

As Hurricane Harvey battered southeast Texas over the past week, the devastation and loss of life in its wake have kept our attention and been a cause of grief.

Through the tragedy, many stories of heroics and sacrifice have emerged. Among those who have sacrificed are nearly 250 workers who have been hunkered down at the South Texas Project (STP) nuclear plant in Matagorda County, Texas.

STP’s priorities were always the safety of their employees and the communities they serve. We are proud that STP continued to operate at full power throughout the storm. It is a true testament to the reliability and resiliency of not only the operators but of our industry.

The world is starting to notice what a feat it is to have maintained operations through the catastrophic event. Forbes’ Rod Adams did an excellent job describing the contribution of these men and women:

“STP storm crew members deserve to be proud of the work that they are doing. Their families should take comfort in the fact that…

New Home for Our Blog: Join Us on NEI.org

On February 27, NEI launched the new NEI.org. We overhauled the public site, framing all of our content around the National Nuclear Energy Strategy.

So, what's changed?

Our top priority was to put you, the user, first. Now you can quickly get the information you need. You'll enjoy visiting the site with its intuitive navigation, social media integration and compelling and shareable visuals. We've added a feature called Nuclear Now, which showcases the latest industry news and resources like fact sheets and reports. It's one of the first sections you'll see on our home page and it can be accessed anywhere throughout the site by clicking on the atom symbol in the top right corner of the page.
Most importantly for you, our loyal NEI Nuclear Notes readers, is that we've migrated the blog to the new site. Moving forward, all blog posts will be published in the News section, along with our press releases, Nuclear Energy Overview stories and more. Just look for the &qu…

A Design Team Pictures the Future of Nuclear Energy

For more than 100 years, the shape and location of human settlements has been defined in large part by energy and water. Cities grew up near natural resources like hydropower, and near water for agricultural, industrial and household use.

So what would the world look like with a new generation of small nuclear reactors that could provide abundant, clean energy for electricity, water pumping and desalination and industrial processes?

Hard to say with precision, but Third Way, the non-partisan think tank, asked the design team at the Washington, D.C. office of Gensler & Associates, an architecture and interior design firm that specializes in sustainable projects like a complex that houses the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys. The talented designers saw a blooming desert and a cozy arctic village, an old urban mill re-purposed as an energy producer, a data center that integrates solar panels on its sprawling flat roofs, a naval base and a humming transit hub.

In the converted mill, high temperat…