Turkey Point no threat to Biscayne Bay, officials say at meeting

Nuclear Regulatory Commission hosts annual meeting

By Liane Morejon - Reporter

HOMESTEAD, Fla. - Alicia Del Aguila is worried about her farm and the condition of drinking water. 

Her concern is what brought her to a meeting Wednesday in Homestead, where the public was updated on the status of Turkey Point.

The meeting was hosted by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and takes place annually. 

"We're just a few miles west of Turkey Point, and the articles were really concerning," Del Aguila, who is with Empower Farms, said. 

Roger Hannah, a senior spokesman for the NRC, was at the meeting. 

"Turkey Point met all NRC regulatory requirements," he said. "They did not have any major findings that would've led us to increase inspection levels or increase oversight in any way."

However, a recent study from the University of Miami about Turkey Point showed that water from cooling canal systems is migrating outside its boundaries and showing up in Biscayne Bay, resulting in the presence of a naturally occurring, radioactive isotope called tritium. 

This study has caused some to question the plant's safety.  

"Here we are a national park being tritiated with all of this tritium, ammonia, phosphorus that could cause algae blooms, fish kills, who knows what," Laura Reynolds, from the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, said. 

Environmental groups are concerned about what may be happening, but Florida Power & Light insists the public is safe. 

"There is no threat to public health. There is no threat to Biscayne Bay or wildlife," FPL spokesman Peter Robbins said. "The plant is operating safely."

Robbins said Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida cabinet on Tuesday approved FPL's request to pump millions of gallons of water from the Floridan aquifer into the cooling canals. They goal, FPL claims, is to help keep water temperatures and salt water levels in the surrounding bay under control.  

Del Aguila said the meeting eased her worries.

"After this meeting I feel a lot better," she said. "You know, I know that they're taking care of it."

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