The renewed push for expansion of nuclear energy in the United States and Florida should be of great concern to us all. The inherent dangers of nuclear power to public safety and national security are significant. Currently there are five operating nuclear units in Florida and more are planned. Nuclear energy supplies approximately seventeen percent of the electricity generated in Florida.
Progress intends to build two new reactors in Levy County. Florida Power and Light plans to build two more new reactors at its existing Turkey Point nuclear plant near Miami.
The projected construction costs of more than $34 billion for the reactors will require at least $200 million in higher rates for Florida consumers to finance construction before any power is produced.
Producing electricity from nuclear power plants requires large quantities of water. A portion of that water is consumed (transformed to steam) and therefore lost to the supply sources from which it was withdrawn.
When comparing types of energy generation in relation to their water withdrawal and consumption, nuclear power has a higher rate of withdrawal and consumption than coal or natural gas. The Turkey Point Power Plant at Miami-Dade is permitted to use 84 million gallons per day of water.
Increased oil prices, global warming and additional taxpayer subsidies have revived the interests of Florida's power industry to expand nuclear energy production, but it is by no means certain that nuclear energy is needed.
Safe doses for radiation are misleading. The cumulative health effect from all of the daily individual safe doses of radiation exposure on humans is not known. Only a few radionuclide sources are currently regulated, making it appear to the public that no real hazard exists.
The nuclear power industry should prove that nuclear plants, its fuel and its waste would pose no significant danger before additional nuclear power plants are built in Florida.
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