NRC issues final enviro review on two new units at FPL’s Turkey Point plant

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) will announce in the Nov. 2 Federal Register that it and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Jacksonville District, are issuing the final environmental impact statement (EIS) for Florida Power and Light‘s planned Turkey Point Nuclear Plant Units 6 and 7.

FPL in 2009 filed combined operating permit and license applications (COLs) to construct and operate two new nuclear units at its Turkey Point site near Homestead, Florida. The final EIS was made available as of Oct. 28.

A notice of availability of the draft version of the EIS was published by the NRC in the Federal Register on March 5, 2015, and also noticed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on March 6, 2015. The final EIS supports the USACE’s review and was prepared in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended. The final EIS also supports the Department of the Army’s permit application for certain construction activities at the proposed Turkey Point Units 6 and 7 site. The USACE’s Public Interest Review will be part of its Record of Decision and is not addressed in the final EIS.

As discussed in the final EIS, the NRC staff’s recommendation related to the environmental aspects of the proposed action is that the COLs should be issued. This recommendation is based on: the Environmental Report (ER) submitted by FPL, as revised; consultation with Federal, State, Tribal, and local agencies; the NRC staff’s independent review; the NRC staff’s consideration of comments received during the environmental review; and the assessments summarized in the final EIS, including the potential mitigation measures identified in the ER and in the final EIS. In addition, in making its recommendation, the NRC staff has concluded that there are no environmentally preferable or obviously superior sites in the region of interest.

The NRC’s Federal action is issuance of COLs for two Westinghouse AP1000 reactors at the Turkey Point site. The USACE is a cooperating agency in preparation of this EIS. The USACE’s Federal action is its decision of whether to issue, deny, or issue with modifications a Department of Army (DA) permit pursuant to Section 404 of the Clean Water Act and Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 to authorize certain construction activities potentially affecting waters of the United States.

The Turkey Point site is located in southeast Miami-Dade County, Florida, near Homestead. Turkey Point Units 6 and 7 would be located on the same site as the existing Turkey Point site, which has five other units, including two nuclear reactors. The primary source of cooling water would be reclaimed wastewater and the alternative source would be saltwater supplied from radial collector wells beneath Biscayne Bay. The ultimate heat sink for Turkey Point Units 6 and 7 would be the atmosphere, using three mechanical draft cooling towers per reactor.

Turkey Point Units 1 and 2 have been operated as natural-gas/oil steam generating units. Unit 2 has been converted to operate in synchronous condenser mode. Unit 1 will be converted to operate in synchronous condenser mode in late 2016. In the synchronous condenser mode, the generators help stabilize and optimize grid performance but do not generate power. Units 3 and 4 are nuclear pressurized water reactors (PWRs), and Unit 5 is a natural-gas combined-cycle steam-generating unit. The proposed plant area is south of Turkey Point Units 3 and 4 on approximately 218 acres of the Turkey Point site property.

To connect the proposed Units 6 and 7 to the power grid, two new 500-kV circuits and three new 230-kV circuits are proposed. FPL wants to build the new transmission lines originating from a proposed new onsite substation (Clear Sky substation) and connecting to the existing Levee substation (500 kV circuits), and to the existing Turkey Point, Davis, and Pennsuco substations (230 kV circuits). Two major corridors are proposed—the West and the East corridors—and multiple transmission lines are proposed within each corridor.

Says the FPL website about these new units: “FPL is proposing two new nuclear units at the existing Turkey Point site. These plants will utilize the ‘AP 1000’ design and will produce an estimated 2,200 MW of electricity — enough to power approximately 750,000 homes in South Florida. FPL’s 11,000-acre Turkey Point generation complex is located 25 miles south of Miami on Biscayne Bay, just east of the Homestead area. The plant includes three existing natural gas plants and two existing nuclear units. More than 5,000 acres at the site are currently dedicated to wildlife preservation. The proposed new units have received strong state and local regulatory support. In 2008, the Florida Public Service Commission determined that there is a need for this project and we conduct annual nuclear cost-recovery reviews. The proposed new units would provide more than $6 billion in benefits to the local economy over the next decade, as construction spending stimulates the local economy.”

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.