As I previously told you, the Turkey Point nuclear power plant in Florida has had problems this summer with the water temperature in the canals that serve as the facility’s Ultimate Heat Sink (UHS.) Temperatures in the UHS have exceeded the 100 degree F limit set in the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) license for Turkey Point, resulting in an enormous algae bloom and perhaps contributing to the death of a threatened American crocodile.
Florida Power and Light may operate cooling canals around Turkey Point at higher temperatures, nuclear regulators say, despite a festering algae bloom that has clogged the waterway, made water hotter and threatened to shut down two reactors.
Cooling the nuclear reactors in southern Miami-Dade County with hotter water from the canal won’t pose a risk to safety or harm the environment, the regulators said in response to an application from the utility last month to increase water temperatures to 104 degrees. Several times this summer, with power demand high, FPL reported that canal water approached or exceeded a 100-degree limit, which requires the reactors to be shut down.
The Herald also reported that the Turkey Point facility tapped into another source for cooling water:
FPL hastily cooled the canals by pumping water from the Floridan aquifer, but asked for the new temperature limit to deal with warming trends and below-average rainfall.
The Floridan is a huge aquifer that underlies all of Florida and parts of Alabam, Georgia and South Carolina. The Floridan acquifer provides drinking water to the Florida cities of Jacksonville, Tallahassee, Orlando and St. Petersburg, and to Savannah and Brunswick in Georgia.
Turkey Point’s new request would place a major strain on the Floridan:
A draft order would allow 14 million gallons of water a day to be pumped from the Floridan. The order would also revise an extensive monitoring program put in place prior to the power plant expansion to track changes. State and county regulators as well as officials with the South Florida Water Management District are scheduled to go over the draft order on Friday, Division of Environmental Resources Management spokesman Luis Espinoza said.
Environmentalists are opposed to the plan:
“Florida cannot generate energy with this much water consumption,” said Laura Reynolds, executive director of Tropical Audubon. “It’s in direct conflict with Everglades restoration and that really is the heart of the problem.”