Environment

Miami-Dade pushes to retire FPL’s Turkey Point cooling canals

Miami-Dade County commissioners want FPL to retire its troubled cooling canals by 2033.
Miami-Dade County commissioners want FPL to retire its troubled cooling canals by 2033. emichot@miamiherald.com

Miami-Dade County commissioners want Florida Power & Light to put an expiration date on the troubled cooling canals at Turkey Point.

On Tuesday, the board unanimously passed a resolution supporting Mayor Carlos Gimenez’s efforts to convince the utility to stop using the canals. Over the decades, the saltier, heavier water flowing through more than 5,900 acres of canals have leaked downward, pushing a line of saltwater inland toward the Keys’ drinking water wellfield. This year, county environmental regulators also discovered canal water, laced with non-threatening amounts of radioactive tritium, had also leaked into Biscayne Bay.

The board’s resolution, sponsored by Commissioner Rebeca Sosa, states that because continued operation of the canals poses “challenges,” commissioners back efforts by Gimenez to persuade the utility to stop using them when an extension to operate the plant’s two reactors expires in 2033.

Commissioners instead want the utility to switch to cooling towers, a more modern technology used in most contemporary nuclear plants. FPL had planned to build cooling towers to operate two new reactors, but this year shelved the new reactors for four years to better calculate costs.

Follow Jenny Staletovich on Twitter @jenstaletovich

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