Nukewatch Quarterly Fall 2014
HOMESTEAD, Florida — Unseasonably high temperatures, which have increased in frequency in recent years due to global warming, threatened to force shutdowns of nuclear power reactors in Florida and Sweden this summer, in a growing trend that could soon put reactors in direct competition with local citizens for rights to fresh water.
Florida Power and Light (FP&L) has been requesting more and more water throughout the summer to battle rising water temperatures in the canals where it pulls water for cooling its Turkey Point reactors. On August 28, the South Florida Water Management District approved an emergency request from the facility to pump more than 100 million gallons a day from a nearby canal system — water that was meant for Everglades restoration and desalinization. This was in addition to a June authorization taking 14 million gallons per day from the Floridian aquifer. In early August, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) also granted an FP&L request to up the operating temperature limits for water in the cooling canals from 100 degrees to 104 degrees. In July, cooling water temperatures reached 102 degrees, just two degrees away from a shutdown.
In Sweden, two nuclear power facilities — Oskarshamn and Forsmark — were forced to cut their power output in July due to a rise in sea temperatures, reducing electricity generation to 92 and 93 percent capacity, respectively. The temperature of the sea water used for cooling at Forsmark reached at least 74 degrees, with 82 degrees being the threshold that would trigger a total shutdown.
— Reuters, July 24; Miami Herald, Aug. 28, 2014