FPL: Nuclear facility upgrade to create jobs

Company says project to eventually save $4.8B

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MIAMI - Mayor Carlos Gimenez and a contingent met with Florida Power and Light officials Wednesday to hear about plans for upgrades at the Turkey Point Nuclear Power Plant. 

FPL officials said the upgrades of units 3 and 4 at the plant will create 5,000 jobs for contractors, including engineers, service workers and other crews, although not all the jobs will be in South Florida. 

"It's making the existing units more efficient so they can produce more power," said Pam Rauch with FPL.

Of the 5,000 jobs for the project, FPL said only 10 percent will be local hires. FPL said there are not enough people in the South Florida job market that have the kind of expertise needed for this type of work.

"There is a shortage of workers specifically trained to work in the nuclear industry," said Bianca Cruz with FPL. "What we're doing to mitigate some of that, is we've started a program at Miami-Dade College nearby to train local people to be electricians and nuclear workers."

The upgrade, plus another upgrade in St. Lucie County, will cost $2.5 billion. FPL officials sad the move will eventually save customers $4.8 billion, the equivalent of powering 270,000 more homes, because of increased efficiency and more power.

Gimenez said he supports nuclear power as a clean, efficient energy source that will create jobs in the county, but opposes building concrete and wire transmission towers along U.S. 1.

"It needs to be buried to lessen the impact on residents," said Gimenez.

Expansion plans for units 6 and 7 at Turkey Point are still in the approval process, which takes years. 

FPL said customers are already paying for those plans and the upgrades in their bills.

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