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TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami) – Florida Power & Light’s request to utilize an additional 14 million gallons per day of non-potable water for use in its Turkey Point Nuclear Plant’s cooling canal system has been granted.
“We are pleased with today’s decision by Governor Rick Scott and his Cabinet which enables us to continue our efforts to improve water quality in Turkey Point’s canal system and the surrounding groundwater system,” said President and CEO of FPL Eric Silagy in a statement.
Nearly 18 months ago FPL began utilizing brackish water from the Floridan Aquifer for improving the salinity levels of the canal system.
However, that move irked the Tropical Audubon Society who sued.
“It is disappointing that as a result of the litigation, we lost the better part of a year – a year in which we would have further improved the salinity levels of the canal system, and been much farther along in the effort to improve overall conditions,” Silagy said in the statement.
Tropical Audubon, a rock mining company which operates just west of the cooling canals, and the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) recently issued a 60-day notice of a pending federal lawsuit against the Juno Beach-based power giant.
The notice calls on state and federal regulators to take action against FPL under the Clean Water Act because of discharges going into ground water. If regulators do not take action within the 60-day notice period, the groups will sue for civil penalties and ask for an injunction against continued violations.
They cite radioactive elements and other water pollution discharged into Biscayne Bay from the Turkey Point Cooling Canal System.
Additionally, the complaint cites reports that a salt water “plume” is rapidly expanding westward into the underground water supply, as FPL sucks more and more water out of the ground and the everglades to maintain 168 miles of cooling canals that are used to prevent its atomic reactors from overheating.
Silagy addressed the plume concerns in his statement.
“We are committed to remove the hypersaline plume to ensure we pose no future threat to drinking water sources in the decades to come.”
FPL said they have been working in close coordination with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, South Florida Water Management District and Miami-Dade Department of Environmental Resources Management to improve the water quality in the canal system.