FPL's Turkey Point becomes first nuclear plant to seek second license renewal
- Florida Power & Light filed to renew licenses for its Turkey Point nuclear units with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) at the end of January, touting potentially billions in savings for consumers should they be approved.
- The decision to seek a second 20-year license renewal for the units — the first such application in the U.S. — comes as the United States nuclear industry faces turmoil in wholesale markets and the demise of two high-profile construction projects. But FPL says renewing the licenses would "save FPL customers billions of dollars by avoiding the need for other more expensive power generation."
- The licenses would allow the nuclear units to operate until 2052 and 2053; Two nuclear units and one gas unit make up Turkey Point.
FPL is the latest in a recent suite of utilities looking to renew operating licenses for nuclear units, even as other plants retire or struggle in power markets across the nation.
The utility also listed climate change and clean air efforts as another reason to keep these plants operating as long as possible, according to a press release. FPL has been under fire in recent years for hefty investment in natural gas, which makes up 70% of its power mix. Last October, the utility filed a petition to develop a new 1,163 MW gas-fired unit on the site of its Lauderdale facility for $888 million — a move it says would be $1.3 billion cheaper than developing the equivalent of solar energy.
The Turkey Point facility also faced scrutiny after a plume of salty water leaked from it into Biscayne Bay two years ago. The leak came as FPL sought to build two new reactors at the facility that would total more than 2,000 MW of capacity and would cost more than $20 billion combined. Gov. Rick Scott (R) had approved the construction in 2014, but the 3rd District Court of Appeal reversed the decision in 2016.
FPL provided an update on the ongoing cleanup efforts at Biscayne Bay, saying it is working on a system with the Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department to treat and reuse wastewater at Turkey Point. The Florida Public Service Commission at the end of 2017 unanimously approved FPL's request to recover $133 million in cleanup costs, boosting customer bills by $0.17/month while the overall environmental charge would decline to $1.59/month on average.
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