FPL’s Increasingly Speculative Proposed Nuclear Reactors at Turkey Point Face Further Obstacles as Toshiba-Westinghouse Faces Financial Meltdown
Utility, state and federal regulators should halt project, investigate
The unfolding financial meltdown of Japanese giant Toshiba, parent company of Westinghouse Electric Corp., the designer and builder of the two proposed AP1000 reactors at FPL’s Turkey Point facility, raises significant questions about the feasibility of FPL’s project and further underscores the likelihood that this project will never even begin construction. It was recently reported that Toshiba, via Westinghouse, is exiting the nuclear construction business.
Due to a controversial early nuclear cost recovery law passed by the Florida state legislature in 2006 that shifted all the financial risk of construction activities from utility shareholders to customers, the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) has approved collection from FPL customers of over $282 million for the increasingly speculative reactor project, units 6 and 7, at Turkey Point, near Homestead, Florida. Additionally, FPL has yet to receive a combined operating license (COL) from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), which the utility applied for in 2010.
Clean energy advocacy organization, the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, which has participated in proceedings before the PSC and NRC for many years, demands that FPL halt the project and that state and federal regulators cease permitting and related efforts required for the project until the full ramifications of Toshiba’s financial situation are evaluated. Below is SACE’s executive director, Dr. Stephen A. Smith’s statement:
“FPL’s Turkey Point nuclear expansion project was questionable from the beginning and now nearly a decade later with hundreds of millions of customers’ dollars spent, there is even less likelihood that this risky, expensive project will ever materialize. Until the fallout from Toshiba-Westinghouse’s financial meltdown can be better understood, several things must happen at the state and federal levels.
The Florida PSC needs to immediately stop FPL from collecting any further charges from ratepayers for Turkey Point 6 and 7 as there is no way any additional expenses can be deemed as a prudent investment. The PSC should also begin an investigation on the ramifications of Westinghouse being out of the nuclear construction business. Any state permitting of this project for transmission lines and other needs has to stop.
The NRC should investigate as well and report to the public, state and federal agencies as to what this means for not only FPL’s proposed reactors, but any proposed AP1000 project and the delayed, over-budget four reactors under construction at Southern Company’s Plant Vogtle in Georgia and SCANA’s V.C. Summer in South Carolina.
And last, but certainly not least, FPL has to come clean and report to their customers via the PSC on the actual economic feasibility of this project, which they failed to do last year. Not one more dollar of customers’ money should be spent on this debacle. Customers will only truly be protected if FPL admits that the Turkey Point expansion project is uneconomical and stops wasting their customers’ limited financial resources.”
About Southern Alliance for Clean Energy
Founded in 1985, the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy is a nonprofit organization that promotes responsible energy choices that work to address the impacts of global climate change and ensure clean, safe, and healthy communities throughout the Southeast. Learn more at www.cleanenergy.org.