Though it's been helping light homes for over four decades; to many, nuclear power still remains a proverbial "4-letter word." The concerns become greater with the Turkey Point nuclear reactors sitting in our backyard in South Florida.
With images of the Fukishima meltdown still etched in our minds 2-and-a-half years after Japan's devastating earthquake, many wonder if the same disaster could happen here.
"You get asked quite a bit if the plant could blow up," said FPL Vice President Mike Kiley. "Quite simply, it can't blow up."
The main reason why a meltdown of Fukishima proportions could not happen at Turkey Point is because of the different types of reactors involved in each plant. Unlike in Japan, FPL's nuclear reactors use pressurized water to cool their fuel rod tanks, ensuring that water will continue to be abundant should a disaster such as an earthquake or hurricane occur.
"If people will take the time to sit and actually listen to the differences between what happened in Fukishima and the barriers we have here at Turkey Point," added Kiley. "They'll understand that the barriers we have in place really protect us extraordinarily so that we won't have any of the conditions that they had there."
Local 10 was given exclusive access to the reactors while they were shutdown to replace the uranium fuel rods that spark the energy process. It's a refueling that FPL Operator Devin Caraza says many would find familiar.
"To put it in perspective," said Caraza. "Imagine going to the gas station, filling up your car and being able to drive for 18 months without having to stop for gas."
The workers inside are protected by pools of water that shield the radiation and help with moving the fuel rods inside the facility.
Another controversy with nuclear fuel concerns what to do with the waste after it's used inside the reactors. Without a national depository for spent fuel rods, FPL currently stores their used rods onsite inside heavily-guarded pads.
But controversy or not, FPL is in the process of gaining permission to double the amount of its nuclear reactors at Turkey Point from two to four. If the plan gains approval, reports say the earliest the new reactors could go online would be 2022; but not even FPL knows what the construction costs will be, with many saying the price could move into the triple-digit billions.