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Posts Tagged ‘Turkey Point nuclear power plant’

Wednesday, September 17, 2014 @ 09:09 AM gHale

The canals around the Turkey Point nuclear power plant near Miami, FL, are too warm and the state approved a request to add more water to cool temperatures down so operators can safety operate the facility.

State officials approved the emergency request for more water to control temperatures in cooling canals at a nuclear power plant near Miami.

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The South Florida Water Management District late last week granted the request for 14 million gallons of water a day to cool the canals at Florida Power & Light’s (FPL) Turkey Point power plant.

The utility blames below-average rainfall for raising temperatures and salinity and fueling an algae bloom that’s also trapping heat in the canals. FPL and nuclear regulators said the canal temperatures don’t pose any public safety risk.

Since June, FPL has been struggling to control the hot canals and an algae bloom that has spread throughout the 168-mile loop. The canals were dug in the 1970s and act like a radiator to help keep the nuclear power plant from overheating.

The utility has blamed below-normal rainfall on the rising temperatures and increased salinity. In July and August, temperatures exceeded 102 degrees and twice threatened to shut down the plant. Because of the spike, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) raised temperature limits to 104 degrees to keep the plant operating.

“The water quality varies with the season,” Steve Scroggs, an FPL senior director, told commissioners. This summer’s rainfall over the canals is off by as much as 50 inches, he said.

“That is the precipitating event that results in higher salinity and high temperatures,” he said.

Hotter water can lead to saltier canals. This summer, salt levels have been about 50 percent higher than normal and twice the salinity of the nearby bay. Salinity is potentially more worrisome since the area’s salt front has already crept farther inland than in other parts of the county, threatening area drinking wells.

The state is currently revising its regulations on how the canals operate. Part of the revisions eliminate strict monitoring imposed when the plant expanded. But county commissioners agreed at a meeting Tuesday the canal problems point to the need for even more monitoring.

“There is no consensus on why this problem has gotten worse,” Christopher McVoy, a hydrologist and soil physicist, told commissioners. “All the data FPL has collected needs to be included and accessible to somebody who can put it together so you’re not voting for a temporary solution that becomes a permanent one and gets us into problems.”

Wednesday, April 11, 2012 @ 12:04 PM gHale

Florida Power & Light (FPL) is facing a $140,000 fine for violations in the maintenance of its emergency response facility at its Turkey Point nuclear power plant.

FPL failed on two occasions to maintain a fully functional Technical Support Center because workers disabled parts of the ventilation system, meaning “response personnel may not have been protected from radiological hazards in the manner for which the facility was designed,” said Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) officials.

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The NRC also criticized FPL for failing to report the support center was “not fully functional during a seven-month period in 2010-2011.”

Regulators said the violations were “of low to moderate safety significance” that might require additional NRC inspections and oversight.

The support center is “currently fully operable and we have taken a number to steps to ensure this type of situation does not occur again,” said FPL spokeswoman Bianca Martinez Cruz.

The center is “one of four on-site emergency response buildings inside the plant’s protected area that would be used by engineering staff in the highly-unlikely event of an emergency,” she said. The problem was “not at all related to the safety of the plant’s day-to-day operations, and at no point was the safety of our employees or the public in question,” she added.

Thursday, August 18, 2011 @ 05:08 PM gHale

The Turkey Point nuclear power plant is undergoing a special inspection to assess how and why the facility had a brief loss of the intake cooling water function at one of the plant’s two nuclear units, Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) officials said.

Turkey Point Unit 3 lost the function of the intake cooling water system for about 20 minutes Aug. 11 when an open valve closed and then failed in that closed position.

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The intake cooling water system provides cooling to important plant equipment. NRC staff determined because the failure resulted in the loss of a safety system and because there is also a potential generic concern, a special inspection was appropriate.

The NRC special inspection team consists of two inspectors as well as an acting resident inspector already at the Turkey Point plant. The team will develop a timeline and review Florida Power & Light’s (FPL) response, assess the plant’s ability to meet its design functions, review maintenance and testing performed for the valve, and assess the company’s problem investigation activities.

The on-site portion of the inspection will wrap this week, and a report documenting the results should ready to go within 45 days of the completed inspection.

Turkey Point Nuclear Generating Unit 3 is a 720-megawatt pressurized water reactor that began commercial operations in 1972 and received approval in 2002 from the NRC to extend its operating license through 2032.

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