Is Florida Ready?
What if it happens here? In the wake of the tragedy in Japan, Governor Rick Scott ordered a safety review of Florida's nuclear plants over the weekend. The 9.0 earthquake caused three explosions at nuclear power plants. Now, attention turns to whether or not Florida's nuclear plants are a health hazard.
Florida has five nuclear reactors in three locations: Crystal River, St. Lucie, and Turkey Point. In 2009, Governor Crist approved plans for another plant in Levy County. Progress Energy is already collecting five dollars every month from customers for the pre-construction of the plant. Those who oppose nuclear power say the plant has no reason to go up, but the people who work for emergency operations in Levy County say they're ready for the worst. Director of Levy County Emergency Operations Center, Mark Johnson, says the new plant proposed for Levy County will mean more work, but he says, they're willing and able.
Francine Robinson is president of Greenspace Preservation Association and says "the proposed site in Levy County is not safe and it's not feasible it is an irreversible accident waiting to happen."
In response to what happened in Japan, Progress Energy Florida Spokesperson Suzanne Grant, says their plants are built to handle natural disasters. Grant says "we ensure that the plants are built to withstand hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes, the types of situations that we expect in Florida, to beyond what our recorded history of our area is."
As for the proposed plant in Levy County, Progress Energy anticipates the Nuclear Regulatory Commission will grant them the combined operating license in late 2012 to early 2013. From there, Grant says, they will look at the plans to move forward. The nuclear power plant in Levy County is estimated to be completed by 2021.
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