Skip to main content

The View from Turkey Point

turkey_point_3 Interesting doings in Florida today:

The Florida Public Service Commission rejected arguments from environmentalists and clean-energy advocates and voted 3-1 today to approve a request by Progress Energy, and Florida Power & Light, to charge customers for four new nuclear power plants that wouldn't generate any voltage until 2017.

It’s a first shot on this story and not completely accurate. True, four new units are involved. Two of them – Progress Energy’s – will be in Levy County – we wrote about them the other day. The other two – FPL’s - will be put in the existing plant at Turkey Point. In addition, FPL won approval to increase capacity at four units, two each at Turkey Point and St. Lucie. Likewise, Progress Energy will be able to increase capacity at one unit at Crystal River.

We’d also call the “clean-energy advocates” phrase a bit misleading since nuclear advocates could call themselves that with equal validity.

But why filter? We can go straight to the Florida Public Service Commission to see what they said:

“Nuclear power provides fuel diversity and will save Florida residents money on future utility bills,” said PSC Chairman Matthew M. Carter II.  “The Legislature enabled utilities to plan for tomorrow by spreading the rate impact over time.  Utilities have to begin spending now to meet future power needs that will keep the lights on for us, our children, and our grandchildren at prices we can afford.”

Mr. Carter has given you Nuclear Power in a Nutshell; we offer a deep bow to him for hitting exactly the right note.

And here’s a bit more of what they did:

FPL’s approved $62,676,816 cost recovery includes costs associated with the uprate of its existing nuclear generating plants, Turkey Point Units 3 and 4 and St. Lucie Units 1 and 2, and the construction of its proposed nuclear power plants, Turkey Point Units 6 and 7. 

PEF’s approved $206,907,726 cost recovery includes costs associated with the uprate of its existing nuclear generating plant at Crystal River, and the construction of its proposed nuclear power plants, Levy Units 1 and 2. 

These figures cover the next year and have to be reapproved – we’re not exactly sure why, but it isn’t necessarily a bad idea. It allows the PSC to measure public feedback and progress made by the companies and to rule accordingly. But surely two years would be as workable and not send all the parties into battle mode so frequently. Even “clean energy advocates” need a breather.

Turkey Point. One of the nicer plant shots we’ve seen.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

How Nanomaterials Can Make Nuclear Reactors Safer and More Efficient

The following is a guest post from Matt Wald, senior communications advisor at NEI. Follow Matt on Twitter at @MattLWald.

From the batteries in our cell phones to the clothes on our backs, "nanomaterials" that are designed molecule by molecule are working their way into our economy and our lives. Now there’s some promising work on new materials for nuclear reactors.

Reactors are a tough environment. The sub atomic particles that sustain the chain reaction, neutrons, are great for splitting additional uranium atoms, but not all of them hit a uranium atom; some of them end up in various metal components of the reactor. The metal is usually a crystalline structure, meaning it is as orderly as a ladder or a sheet of graph paper, but the neutrons rearrange the atoms, leaving some infinitesimal voids in the structure and some areas of extra density. The components literally grow, getting longer and thicker. The phenomenon is well understood and designers compensate for it with a …

Missing the Point about Pennsylvania’s Nuclear Plants

A group that includes oil and gas companies in Pennsylvania released a study on Monday that argues that twenty years ago, planners underestimated the value of nuclear plants in the electricity market. According to the group, that means the state should now let the plants close.

Huh?

The question confronting the state now isn’t what the companies that owned the reactors at the time of de-regulation got or didn’t get. It’s not a question of whether they were profitable in the '80s, '90s and '00s. It’s about now. Business works by looking at the present and making projections about the future.

Is losing the nuclear plants what’s best for the state going forward?

Pennsylvania needs clean air. It needs jobs. And it needs protection against over-reliance on a single fuel source.


What the reactors need is recognition of all the value they provide. The electricity market is depressed, and if electricity is treated as a simple commodity, with no regard for its benefit to clean air o…

Why Nuclear Plant Closures Are a Crisis for Small Town USA

Nuclear plants occupy an unusual spot in the towns where they operate: integral but so much in the background that they may seem almost invisible. But when they close, it can be like the earth shifting underfoot.

Lohud.com, the Gannett newspaper that covers the Lower Hudson Valley in New York, took a look around at the experience of towns where reactors have closed, because the Indian Point reactors in Buchanan are scheduled to be shut down under an agreement with Gov. Mario Cuomo.


From sea to shining sea, it was dismal. It wasn’t just the plant employees who were hurt. The losses of hundreds of jobs, tens of millions of dollars in payrolls and millions in property taxes depressed whole towns and surrounding areas. For example:

Vernon, Vermont, home to Vermont Yankee for more than 40 years, had to cut its municipal budget in half. The town closed its police department and let the county take over; the youth sports teams lost their volunteer coaches, and Vernon Elementary School lost th…