Governor Scott Says Nuclear Power Safe

By: Whitney Ray Email
By: Whitney Ray Email

Tallahassee, FL - Two nuclear power plants exploded in Japan days after an 8.9 magnitude earthquake rocked the island county. Florida has five nuclear reactors in three locations, Turkey Point, Crystal River and St. Lucie.

Representative Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda, a longtime opponent of nuclear, says the explosions… are proof Florida should get out of the nuclear game.

“The same kinds of problems here in Florida or in the United States with earthquakes or disasters,” said Rehwinkel Vaslinda

In 2009, Former Governor Charlie Crist and the State Cabinet approved plans to build a plants in Levy County. The first new nuclear plants approved in the US in more than three decades.

Progress Energy is already collecting five dollars a month from its customer to build the plants. The project is scheduled to be completed by 2021. Florida Power and Light is collecting money to expand its plant.

State Senate Mike Fasano opposes the cost recovery fees, but supports nuclear. He says what happened in Japan is a freak occurrence.

“It’s clean, it’s efficient, it’s necessary, it takes down our need to have imported oil from other nations,” said Fasano.

We spoke with former Public Service Commission Chairwoman Nancy Argenziano
by phone. The PSC is in charge of regulating utility companies. Argenziano says Japan’s problems raise a lot of questions about Florida’s push toward nuclear.

“It made me stop and think quite a bit, three nuclear reactors there and a second explosion today makes me wonder if we really know what the heck we’re doing,” said Argenziano.

Supporters of nuclear say it’s safer and cleaner than coal. That theory will be tested in Japan in the coming weeks and months ahead.

Governor Rick Scott ordered a safety review of Florida Nuclear plants this weekend. Today Scott released a statement saying he’s satisfied that Florida’s nuclear plants are safe and the state is prepared to respond to a disaster at one of the plants.

“The information I’ve received shows that across state agencies, in conjunction with federal partners and utility operators, we are prepared for an effective and rapid emergency response.”

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