Rep. Rehwinkel Vasilinda Urges Legislature: Renewables Over Nuclear

By: Rep. Rehwinkel Vasilinda Release; AP
By: Rep. Rehwinkel Vasilinda Release; AP

UPDATE 3-14-2011

Governor Rick Scott and Emergency Management Officials
Conduct Emergency Preparedness Review of Florida’s Nuclear Power Plants

Tallahassee, FL - Following ongoing events at nuclear power facilities in Japan, Governor Rick Scott asked Florida Division of Emergency Management Director Bryan W. Koon to review Florida’s emergency action plans should any of the state’s five nuclear reactors face a natural or manmade disaster.

“This weekend, Director Koon and his staff made a comprehensive review of the State’s action plans to ensure Florida is prepared to face a disaster of this magnitude,” said Governor Scott. “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.”

Florida has five active nuclear energy reactors operating at three facilities. There are three additional facilities within 100 miles of Florida’s borders. Utility operators coordinate frequent emergency preparedness drills with government agencies at the local, state and federal level. The Florida Division of Emergency Management has the overall responsibility for coordination of the response to a nuclear power plant emergency.

“At Governor Scott’s direction, we reviewed Florida’s plans and preparedness at our nuclear power facilities,” said Director Koon. “Annually, each Florida nuclear facility conducts exercises to test many different scenarios to ensure that there are plans in place and we are prepared for any event. We are confident in our ability to respond and our review affirmed our readiness.”

The following Q&A provides more information about the impact of a disaster on Florida’s nuclear power plants and the safety measures currently in place: http://www.flgov.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/Nuclear-Power-Incident-Preparedness-in-Florida.pdf.

“Like the rest of the world, the people of Florida are watching the unfolding tragedy in the wake of earthquakes and tsunamis across the Pacific Rim. Our hearts and prayers go out to the victims, and Florida stands ready to assist in any way possible,” said Governor Scott.

For more information about Florida’s Radiological Emergency Preparedness Program, visit: http://www.floridadisaster.org/Preparedness/TechnologicalHazards

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Tallahassee, Florida -- March 14, 2011 -- 3pm --

Gov. Rick Scott says the state is prepared to meet any catastrophic challenges that might threaten any of the five nuclear reactors housed in Florida.

Following the events in Japan in recent days in the aftermath of
a massive earthquake and ensuing tsunami that has led to possible
nuclear meltdowns in that Pacific island-nation, Scott asked his
emergency management director to review Florida's emergency action plan.

Meanwhile, Democratic state Rep. Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda of
Tallahassee has filed a bill to repeal a Florida law that allows
utility companies to recover costs for siting, designing, licensing
and building nuclear and integrated gasification combined cycle
power plants.

Vasilinda said Monday that nuclear energy is too expensive and
too dangerous -- as evidenced by the recent events in Japan -- for
Florida citizens.

_________________________________________

Tallahassee, Florida -- March 14, 2011 --

Complete letter is attached in PDF format above.

Concerned about the increasing costs to build and operate nuclear power plants and the need for more renewable energy investments, Rep. Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda (D-Tallahassee) has filed a bill to repeal a Florida law that allows utility companies to recover costs for siting, designing, licensing and constructing of nuclear and integrated gasification combined cycle power plants.

Since 2009, Rep. Rehwinkel Vasilinda has been urging the Public Service Commission and Florida’s Cabinet to re-think Florida’s energy policies and the large role nuclear power plays in Florida’s energy future. HB 4161 is one more such step the Representative has taken to put an end to the high-cost Floridians pay for nuclear power plants. Also, the catastrophic threat of a nuclear meltdown facing Japan during the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami last week is a warning sign Rep. Rehwinkel Vasilinda says Florida needs to consider more seriously when investing in nuclear energy plants as a source of Florida’s energy future.

“I believe we can do more in Florida to produce truly clean, safe and renewable energy that can decrease our dependency on foreign oil and help families afford a good quality of life,” said Rep. Rehwinkel Vasilinda. “Nuclear energy has a high price and the cost recovery to families is an unjust price to pay. The transportation of materials to produce nuclear energy across state lines and permanent disposal are fraught with potential legal liability and risks to our national security and health. Even with the ability to recycle some of the waste, dangerous waste will remain for thousands of years. It is unfair and unjust to pawn yet another problem off on others and the next generation.”

As an alternative, Rep. Rehwinkel Vasilinda has also filed legislation to create a Public Benefits Fund (HB 219) to support and sustain renewable energy projects in Florida as well as HB 1281 enabling local governments to raise sales tax revenues for financial assistance to homeowners who make energy efficiency improvements or install renewable energy devices.


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