Because of Hurricane Irma’s threat to the region, FPL announced that it has shut down a reactor at its Turkey Point nuclear plant.
“Beginning early Saturday morning, we conservatively and safely shut down one of Turkey Point’s two nuclear reactors. As Irma’s path changed, the decision was made to leave the second reactor online, as hurricane force winds were no longer expected at the site. We will adjust this plan, if needed, subject to weather conditions,” an FPL statement said.
This move was anticipated and didn’t impact power to customers, contrary to false reports circulating on social media on Friday.
FPL also said it will leave its St. Lucie plant further up the coast running.
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“At this time, it is not expected that the St. Lucie Nuclear Power Plant will shut down as a result of Irma, though we will closely monitor the changing weather conditions,” FPL said. “Safety is and will remain our top priority.”
Even with shut downs, other non-nuclear plants powered by fossil and natural gas are expected to generate enough to power to make up for losses unless they are severely damaged by the storm.
FPL said earlier in the week it was finalizing plans for the shutdowns, if they became necessary. The last time a major hurricane hit the Turkey Point nuclear power plant was during Hurricane Andrew in 1992; it caused $90 million in damage but left the nuclear reactors along southern Biscayne Bay unscathed.
This report has been updated.