Turkey Point: Five Reasons Miami's Nuclear Power Plant Is Apocalyptically Unsafe

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​With Japan on the brink of a devastating meltdown, nuclear power is coming under increased scrutiny around the globe. We talked to Jupiter-based Thomas Saporito, a former instrument control technician and safety whistleblower at nuclear power plants in Florida, Arizona, and Texas. Saporito now works as a consultant and nuclear power watchdog. He spent three years at Turkey Point, the Florida Power & Light-owned facility located just east of Homestead.

It was not a reassuring chat. Here are, according to Saporito, the five most dangerous aspects of the Turkey Point plant.

1. It's old.
When Turkey Point went into operation in 1972, it was licensed for, and designed to last, 40 years. With that expiration date approaching, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) "rubber-stamped" another 20 years onto the plant's license. Turkey Point can now operate until 2033. "This is uncharted territory," Saporito says. "The NRC has no firm idea of what will happen, and they cannot dispute that those reactors may crack from being bombarded with high-level radiation."

saporito.jpg
Thomas Saporito
2. FPL employees are afraid to report safety concerns. Saporito claims FPL fired him -- twice -- for whistleblowing. The utility company's penchant for retaliation has what he calls a "significant chilling effect": Nuclear workers don't bring safety concerns to their bosses. His evidence: In the past six years, the NRC has received 160 anonymous complaints about Florida nuclear plants from their workers, "far in excess of any other nuclear plants in the U.S." What concerns Saporito is that those workers didn't feel safe bringing their complaints to FPL -- and the implication there might be employees who choose not to speak up at all.

3. Just like in Japan, Turkey Point is extremely susceptible to a meltdown caused by a natural disaster.
A hurricane creating a tidal surge coming off of Turkey Point's neighboring Biscayne Bay could cause catastrophic conditions identical to those in Japan. With regional power down, the plant would be forced to rely on emergency diesel generators to continue pumping the 650,000 gallons of water per minute needed to cool the reactors. But Saporito believes those generators would "certainly" become inundated with water from the tidal surge, causing them to drown and fail. Such a meltdown in Japan is the cause of those alarming images of rescue workers trying to douse the power plant with water to keep it cool.

4. And just like in Japan, Turkey Point's spent fuel pools are a catastrophe waiting to occur.
Fukushima Daiichi Power Station's spent fuel pools -- swimming pools filled with radioactive fluids -- are threatening to boil away, introducing radiation into the air. But a disaster isn't necessary for a meltdown caused by Turkey Point's spent fuel pools, Saporito says. Last June, the company was fined $70,000 for violations regarding Turkey Point's spent fuel pools. The negligence "could have resulted in a severe nuclear accident," Saporito says. "That could be a horrific disaster all by itself."

5. If Turkey Point melts down, Miami is doomed.
Saporito says that, as in Japan, there will be no chance to evacuate the city to protect ourselves from radiation. People will be ordered to stay indoors, but "gamma rays will go right through a house like it's nothing. People are going to die" and radiation will make the region uninhabitable. Saporito considers it ironic that keeping old nuclear plants in business, and building new ones, is in his opinion, motivated by money. "The entire city of Miami could become a ghost town that nobody can go back to for 50,000 years. What would that do for that state of Florida's economy?"

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33 comments
sea dog
sea dog

i worked with saporito at publix supermarkets before they fired him for company theft, he has a history of working for various industries then fileing suit against them.

Rosie
Rosie

You are a moron who has no clue what is really going on a Turkey Point. Do a little more research before making retarded statements like "the employees are afraid to report safety concerns". Do you really believe an employee at Turkey Point would put their own well-being at risk? Do you know what radiation poisoning entails? Do you think anyone wants that? The employees are NOT scared to report issuesthat would affect their lives or the publics lives. PTN (Turkey Point) goes through many upgrades to make sure the plant will survive natural disasters- It DID survive Hurricane Andrew- which was a DIRECT HIT form a Cat 5 hurricane. Stop trying to instigate problems- this is EXACTLY the kind of BS I expect from a rag like the New Times. Crappy stories and crappy reporting.

Javier Gonzalez
Javier Gonzalez

For all those gentlemen and ladies that continue to revere nuclear power as the answer to all of our energy needs without any significant risk, please go to the following website

http://www.ieer.org/carbonfree...

and download the FREE book by Dr. Arjun Makhijani, titled Carbon-Free and Nuclear-Free: A Roadmap for U.S. Energy Policy. She is an expert on the subject and backs everything that Mr. Saporito has explained in his post. MY HAT IS OFF TO HIM FOR HAVING THE COURAGE TO COME FORWARD AND EXPOSE THE HAZARDS OF TURKEY POINT AND COVER UPS.

I am going to request the latest safety inspection from Turkey Point and do a little bit of research on how they got the NRC to renew their license. It sounds very suspicious to me that a plant that old would get a renewal without MAJOR overhauling of the plant, which has not happened.

Let's not forget the Three mile island nuclear disaster that occurred on U.S. soil not too long ago.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T...

Nuclear is not the way to go. There are more viable, efficient and less dangerous sources of energy. Trusting the CEO or higher-ups at FPL to do the right thing will not avoid a catastrophe from happening. Hoping that corporations will do the right thing and avoid a catastrophe has not rendered positive results when it comes to forcing these companies to invest in safety and security. Look at what happened at the Massey coal mine last year. All along the owners were saying that every safety precaution was taken, when in fact they had mass violations; same thing with the Deep Water Horizon. In an economy based on capitalism, where the only thing that matters is profits, history has shown that human lives or the environment don't figure into the equation. WAKE UP!!!

D Marcinkewicz
D Marcinkewicz

This guy is full of crap. Obviouslynpissed off he was fired by FPL TWICE! FPL has a program called the "employees concerns program" which allow theEmployees to confidently, without retaliation, report ANY concerns regarding the work environment or management. Furthermore, PTN is a PWR not a BWR which he faile to mention. Unlike Japan, Turkey point has MANY safety systems to counteract EVERY natural disaster. The NRC oversees and regulates EVERYTHING that the nuclear industry does. This guy obviously is calling the NRC dumb. TISK TISK.

Ihern
Ihern

Who is this guy? Is he an engineer or what, what exactly makes someone an 'intrument control technician'? This is one of the worst articles I've read in awhile, there's absolutely no concrete science-based information here.

Ezstreetcars@Gmail. com
Ezstreetcars@Gmail. com

It seems to me that a past disgrunteled employee that is now motivated by money himself. With 3 years of experience in a low level position is now somehow an

expert in a field he has no significant experience in. What about our nuclear driven military vessels? Piping does not have to be at a nuclear plant to have wear. Radiation does not break down structure. Heat does. Further more Florida has one of the largest fuel ports in the eastern U.S. what's there contingency plan? People such as yourself need to become better . My advice to you is only speak when spoken to, and let the grown ups take care of things.

Buckstop
Buckstop

Cumbre Vejia is the Volcanic Island predicted to have a landslide which will create a Mega Tsunami. It is located in the Canary Islands. This Tsunami will be hundreds of feet high and will effect North America, Central America and South America.It would not matter if Turkey Point was new, old, safe, unsafe, loaded with redundancies or not.If the pumps don't work, if the water can't be pumped, if no one can get near it?We should not build things that Do not have an Off Switch.japan is looking for an Off Switch that does not exist.

Guest
Guest

Crossing the street SW 67 Ave their is a school named WESTMINSTER SCHOOL with a lot student from 0 grade to 12 grade, which is a danger place for this children.. And now said that TURKEY POINT IS UNSAFE PLANT.

Outraged
Outraged

Wow, this guys yells fire and you print it without fact checking anything he says? This should be criminal if it isn't already!

verizonjack
verizonjack

that's true. i think we should move it.

Joey99
Joey99

Turkey point took a direct hit from Hurricane Andrew in 1992. The entire plant was running on equipment less powerful than an iPad2 that most people use to view porn while masturbating at work. It survived... I am sure engineers are Turkey Point are currently reevaluating their backup power generators and contingency plans.

Japan should not be a reason to say nuclear power is unsafe. If anything it has proved that it is much safer than what people thought. Japan was nailed by a 9.0 earthquake and a tsunami. Hatti was pretty bad right? Well this earthquake produced 100 times the energy. It was a terrible disaster.

The nuclear power plant was badly damaged and did release radiation. Do you have any idea how much radiation a coal power plant produces? I bet most people don't know this, but if turkey point was a coal power plant we'd be being exposed to about 100 times more radiation from a plant producing the same energy. It also produces much more waste. Read about the coal ash disaster in Tennessee in 2008. That would be great in for Biscayne Bay. I would rather have a nuclear plant in my backyard than some toxic coal plant.

How about some reports on what alternatives we could use here in Miami. Stop this stupid non sense of spread disinformation. If nuclear makes the New Times staff uncomfortable, how about presenting some viable alternatives. Then do some investigative journalism at FPL and find out why it is not getting implemented. Is the media so lazy they cannot do their own investigative journalism anymore? Do the damn jobs you dreamed of as kids. This kind of reaction from the media is not what the sheeple need. I thought New Times was better than this. I am very disappointed.

AnEngineer
AnEngineer

This guy is an embarrassment to the power industry. He has no background to be making such claims. I/C is found in every industrial plant from nuclear power to a bread factory, this does not mean he has any idea what he's talking about when it comes to nuclear physics. I can't believe this news paper printed this garbage without at least vetting it with someone who actually might know what they're talking about..... Say a nuclear engineer. Shame on them for needlessly spreading fear. If there's a real problem brought to light by someone who knows what they are talking about then by all means print it but this is irresponsible.

JaySails
JaySails

Your facts you have printed are suffering from some fatal errors:1- In the 40 years of operation do you think there have not been constant improvements in the plant, to enhance equipment and safety. Do you really think that engineers have not fully determined that reactor metal will not fracture from use, do you think they are 6+" thick to keep them weighted down.2- This is the story you should have written about, just just a fleeting off hand comment about it, but gee that is work to do that.3- The 650,000 gals per Minute is NOT possible on any nuclear plant. Its more like the condenser that needs about 650,000 gals of water per HOUR to cool the steam back into feed water, after its run the generator. That has nothing to do with the reactor at all, not even in the same building. Reactor cooling is entirely separate and independent systems.

Use to be there were reporters (and editiors) who looked more into details of a story before they let there aimless thoughts roam stupidly on the page, especially the Miami Times. Most all of these facts can be googled at anytime, its not like its a secret.

Felix
Felix

Thorium nuclear energy is safer look it up.

mrkc60
mrkc60

Will my kids glow in the dark?

Scott_fs
Scott_fs

Better evacuate Earth! Starting with Saporito!

Seriously, nuclear power is the safest way to produce power yet devised. Solar and wind power use toxic materials that can contaminate ground water. Fossil fuels, especially coal, cause harmful particulate matter that leads to severe lung damage in some people. There has been exactly zero deaths linked to commercial nuclear power in the US.

You can't say that about coal or even natural gas.

Grow up, people. Our energy problems can be solved with two things: nuclear power and plug-in hybrid cars.

Gamma Boy
Gamma Boy

Sorry to "Blow the wistle" on this guy, but he's an Instrument & Controls guy. Not a Radiological Controls guy. He is speaking beyond his pay grade when he talks about the doses Miami would receive.

Shy Lil Kitten
Shy Lil Kitten

I cant belive some companys and how extream their stingyness can extend!!!!!!!!! its peoples lives were talking about isnt it obvious we should do something!?!?!?! i say lets builde a safer, newer plant!

SunGod
SunGod

ridiculous that the 'Sunshine State' isn't investing heavily in solar.

Miamialum
Miamialum

Gamma Rays?? 50,000 years??? How did the plant do during Andrew?? Does this fool think there won't be lessons learned from the Japan mess?

zero
zero

@Javier Gonzalez what are some more viable, efficient and less dangerous sources.  so far nothing we have can produce the same amount of power. I don't see anyone with a antimatter reactor hanging around. oh wait that's right the government has one in secret locations

Cyberpine
Cyberpine

We take the boat out of Black Point marina.. everything is beautiful and natural but in a distance you see Turkey Point. It's oddly beautiful to look at as it's the only damn structure you can see int he distance. Building a nuclear plant right on the cost here of all places... perhaps we would want a do-over.

Thomas Saporito
Thomas Saporito

First, as history will surely mark - there will be many deaths resulting from the nuclear catastrophe unfolding in Japan - not to mention the many birth defects that followed the Chernobyl melt-down and the releases from the Three-Mile Island melt-down.

Next, any amount of radiation causes adverse health consequences to humans - as documented by health and medical experts.

Next, the Obama administration closed the "Yucca Mountain" high-level nuclear waste depository forcing utilities to store the nuclear waste on-site.

Next, with no viable options to resolve the nuclear waste storage problem - it makes no sense to build even more nuclear power plants anywhere in the world.

Next, The AP1000 nuclear reactor that FPL selected to build in Miami, Florida has numerous safety design flaws: See: http://saprodani-associates.co...

Next, despite FPL's evacuation plans - the residents of Miami could never evacuate the area in a timely manner in the event of a nuclear accident similar to Japan's event.

Conclusion - the use of nuclear power must end - we must focus on alternative energy sources - safe technology exists - let's put it in use!

May GOD help us all and protect our children...

Thomas Saporito
Thomas Saporito

Well, of course everyone recognizes that the good folks at Turkey Point have made efforts to improve plant operations over the years. However, after approximately 2-million dollars in fines issued by the U.S.NRC for violation of safety regulations - FPL continues in violation of NRC requirement having security forces found asleep on duty at the nuclear plant! With respect to 650,000 gals of cooling water - that was is intended to represent an estimate of the water needed to remove heat from the primary water loop via the condenser unit and returned back into the environment via (Biscayne Bay). That heat adversely affects the environment. Finally, as I mentioned in the article - the timely evacuation of the public would be impossible - and the area near the plant has seen a dramatic increase in population since the plant began operation in the early 70s. Natural gas fired plants would be a great alternative to these nuclear plants and gas fired plants are SAFE... Please visit: http://saprodani-associates.co... for more information... Thomas Saporito, Jupiter, Florida ...

GusGarciaRoberts
GusGarciaRoberts

Jaysails: According to the girl riding a jet ski here:

http://www.ne.doe.gov/students...

"In large reactors, as much as 330,000 gallons of water coolant flow through the reactor core every minute."

I couldn't find any other claims of truly factual errors in your comment, just matters of conjecture and opinion. Oh, and insults.

Kgozman
Kgozman

What about world wide, including chernobyl, and including this month, consider radiation already released by Diichi, into the air and into the ocean? How many deaths is going to be enough? Why would you take an anomalous record like that and highlight it like its the law?

Just because this one person never had a car accident doesn't mean car accidents dont exist.

Solar equipment may not be without its problems, but its a heck of a lot easier to manage to recycle that than spent nuclear rods, and the 30 - 40 or so deaths over 30 years, caused by wind turbine accidents, that record is pretty much going to stay there un-contended. but you know that it would take 1 serious nuclear meltdown to blow that record out of the water.

Kgozman
Kgozman

Really? You think Miami Nuclear Plant is beyond reproach by any one other than "Radiological Controls Guy", You dont think that a natural disaster involving this outdated nuclear power plant is going to cause serious damage to whole of Miami?

nevernot
nevernot

Unfortunately we aren't actually that good of a location for solar due to the frequent cloud cover inland and dense population. A place like Arizona with near 0% humidity and no cloud cover to speak of with it's massive amount of open space is far more ideal.

Guest
Guest

I agree - Miami certainly should be looking into alternative energy sources, as in wind and solar. We have plenty of both to utilize.

MixMasterFreshh
MixMasterFreshh

Yep. Gamma rays. You know, from fission? Do you seriously believe that spent fuel will be made to disappear into thin air by new regulations after Fukushima? If so, you are deluded. It has to be stored somewhere and that somewhere will continue to be spent fuel pools on reactor grounds unless and until Yucca Mountain is finally opened for business. Even then, all reactors will likely still have to store at least one and maybe two full loads' worth of spent fuel on-site, for cooling.

RJM
RJM

The Clean Air Task Force did a study that concluded that 30,000 people die each YEAR from pollution caused by coal powered power plants. So how many have died from nuclear powered plants in the last decade? Statistically at this point there would have to be 25 melt-downs each year for nuclear power to be as dangerous as coal burning. One has the potential to have preventable catastrophic effects, while the other has catastrophic effects.

Josocool1
Josocool1

You are one of many who apparently know nothing about solar power!

Cloud cover may interfere with the output by less than 2% on a bad day, but in fact, the collectors absorb sunlight even during the rain. In addition, as I lived in Key Largo for many years, I know of the vast area of land just to the south of Card Sound Road and West of Cty Rd. 905 that can be utilized to build a massive solar power plant.

I now living in Arcadia, Florida, of which was recently called home to the largest solar power plant in the State. Iit not only is running beautifully, my bills are almost half what they were prior to the plant going online and there is ZERO pollution from it.

I'm hoping that people will see that the glass is way past the half full mark and start learning more about what's good for our children and country instead of seeing only the bad. I still believe this is the greatest country on earth - because of the potential we have collectively, and with one plan in mind. A plan to rebuild the infrastructure and power plants of America in such a way that they will last for at least the next 500 years with minimal maintenance costs. It can be done now!

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