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Florida Nuclear Facility Spewing Radioactive Waste Into Bay
Sat Mar 12, 2016 10:32

Florida Nuclear Facility Spewing Radioactive Waste Into Bay © Flickr/ Blake Burkhart
22:10 10.03.2016(updated 02:18 11.03.2016)
A Florida nuclear power plant is contaminating Biscayne Bay with radioactive waste, creating a potential public safety threat and threatening Southern Florida’s drinking water supply.

A study conducted by the University of Miami conclusively found that the contaminated water being used to cool the Florida Power & Light (FPL) plant is leaving the canal system intended to contain it, and entering the bay.

A sign warning of radioactive contamination
Radioactive Contamination from Nuclear Waste Site Spreads in Washington
The pollution "is threatening South Florida's drinking water supply and Biscayne National Park,” the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) asserted.

In 2013, the plant increased their output by 15%, causing the canals with the cooling water to run much higher than they previously had. On top of this, the plant was cleared by nuclear regulators to run the canals at 104 degrees, making them the hottest in the nation, the Herald reported.

"This study confirms that FPL miscalculated the impact uprating Turkey Point’s reactors to generate more power would cause," Laura Reynolds of SACE told Common Dreams on Tuesday. "They continue to make record profits while our water supply gets loaded with at least 600,000 pounds of salt daily and our national park is polluted and drinking water is threatened."

Florida State Representative José Javier Rodríguez took to Twitter on Tuesday, releasing a statement calling for the EPA to take action in protecting the area’s water supply.
“The lack of state enforcement has enabled matters to reach a point where a state administrative law judge recommended rescission of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s administrative order on Turkey Point, finding their actions inadequate,” Rodríguez wrote.

“In light of continued issues and this recent evidence of potential threats to public safety and the environment, I respectfully request that the US Environmental Protection Agency take action to protect the public under powers granted your agency by the Clean Water Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act or other legal authority. State regulators have, unfortunately, failed to adequately do so and I ask for your agency’s direct involvement.”

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Canton of Geneva Sues French Nuclear Power Plant Over Environment Concerns © AFP 2016/ PHILIPPE DESMAZES
01:52 02.03.2016(updated 02:00 03.03.2016)
Radioactive Contamination from Nuclear Waste Site Spreads in Washington © AP Photo/ Ted S. Warren
23:49 23.02.2016(updated 03:16 24.02.2016) Get short URL
EPA alarmed by uncontrolled exposure risk in Hansford, Washington.

In November 2015, workers began excavating concrete drums filled with high-level radioactive nuclear waste that had been discarded after uranium fuel fabrication work in the 1960s. The site of the excavation, now a burial ground, is in the notorious town of Hanford, in the state of Washington, near the public highway, and known to be one of the most radioactive areas in North America.

The workers at the burial ground detected specks of highly radioactive material at the site on November 16. With windy weather forecast for the following day, the workers aimed to contain the spread of contamination. The team applied a fixture called “rhino snot,” designed to keep radioactive specks from going airborne.

However, the winds that struck on November 17th were worse than predicted. Gusts to 120 km/h (75 mph), radioactive particulates mixed with airborne dust in the air of the town creating a scenario ripe for nervous and respiratory health danger. Notably, the aerosolized radioactive material, which has a 100 year half-life, can have compound carcinogenic impacts if particles become lodged in the alveoli, the small air sacs in the lungs.

Perhaps Even More Toxic Than Originally Measured
The exposure, according to official reports from the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, predates a November 2015 incident when nearby residents were thought to have been exposed to radioactive particulates over a period beginning summer 2014.

Nonetheless, Bryan Foley, US Department of Energy (DoE) deputy project director for the site, reassured the public, saying that, “The workers and public were not at risk of exposure because of the spread of contamination.” The Washington State Department of Health echoed these assurances, stating that, to date, the spread of contaminated particulates is not a threat to the public, but that concerns persist of a later, more serious, spread of contamination due to the containment failure.

Environmental Protection Agency Hanford program manager, Dennis Faulk, took the DOE assurances to task, noting that, “the waste had high levels of radioactive isotopes.” Faulk questioned the diligence of DOE control measures, noting that high level waste, “does not bind well with grout.” The EPA has stated that the contamination “is a matter that is alarming and requires further investigation and discussion.”

The EPA has given the DoE six weeks to report on the contamination, the environmental factors that led to the event, and both preventative and remedial measures to limit public and environmental danger.

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