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  1. Thanks Rod. Would it be possible to include a few sentences beneath the first photo of Turkey Point explaining the CCS source, where it exchanges heat with the generators, and how the CCS effects cooling? How is it similar and different from a cooling tower system? Is all inlet water evaporated or subsumed, or is there an outlet as well?

    I was a teenager when the first nuclear power plants were coming on line in the 60’s. I’d grown up with images of Appalachian strip mining and mountain top removal. My own father was a biochemist; his family background was in central Colorado’s hard-rock mining districts. But of course coal mining, coal miners, and the health issues they endured was an element of those communities as well. Dad was dumbfounded in relief at the prospect of finally ridding ourselves of that scourge.

    I lived in Fishkill, New York, during the blizzards of ’96 – ’97. Four feet of snow in a many days. Poughkeepsie ran out of municipal land to dump snow, and after careful sounding finally just dumped it on the frozen Hudson. Power was out for three days. Line crews from as far as South Carolina and Canada (not that far) came in to get the lights back on.

    You probably remember similar efforts after Hurricane Irene and super-storm Sandy. Others will weigh in as well.

    1. @Ed Leaver

      The storms I remember most clearly were Hugo (living in Charleston at the time), Andrew (family in South Florida), and Isabelle (living in Annapolis). I also lived on the west coast of Florida the year four named storms devastated the state, but the names have faded because we were lucky enough to have been spared.

    2. Ed,

      If you examine a satellite image of the site, you can see that the water intake to the plant is just a bit to the east of the plant (with intakes to the nuclear Units 3&4 and the no-longer used intakes for coal-fired Units 1&2). The condenser cooling water enters from the east of the plant, is heated in the condenser as the steam from the turbines is condensed to a liquid, discharges to the west side of the plant, then traverses the 13-15 miles of canals (heading south), and finally heads back north through the segment just next to the Bay to re-enter the intake system. The long path should all the water to be at a temperature that should be at least a little cooler than the water that was discharged to the west of the plant (even in the hottest months – July, August, and September).


      1. Thanks for the guided tour, EntrepreNuke. Indeed, I was browsing that very map last night. That CCS occupies lot of real estate. Almost caught myself wondering who would benefit were it all condemned. But it was late and I thought better of it.

  2. In fairness, the fact that tritium levels decline as the distance from the CCS increases, does provide a reasonable basis for concluding that the CCS is the source of the tritium.

    1. @Keith Pickering

      There is no dispute that elevated tritium in the area largely comes from the power plant. The plant steadily produces the isotope as a byproduct of normal operation. The plant is permitted to discharge tritiated water into the cooling canal system. The system is not hermetically sealed. It evaporates about 34 million gallons of water per day, sometimes more, sometimes a bit less.

      It’s been legally doing that for 40 years. Tritium has a 12 year half life and does not vanish, so there is no surprise that it can be detected at falling concentrations as distance from the canals increase.

      My objection to the opposition, which I’ll be writing more about in Part II, is that trace amounts of tritium do not prove that a significant quantity of canal cooling water is percolating through the soil barriers at the bottom and the boundaries of the system. Sure, there is probably some movement, but nothing unexpected by the people who designed, approved, and built the system. It is not a source of harmful or illegal pollution.

  3. This is a great enlightening and educational article of the kind that the media ought be doing to get the story and facts right! Indian Point watchers are minding this plant’s story like a hawk. I look forward to following segments!

    Semi-off topic:

    Re the Fukushima article at http://www.clipsyndicate.com/video/playlist/1510/6256326?cpt=8&title=ans_nuclear_clips&wpid=752 on ‘Fukushima ‘dark tourism’ aids remembrance and healing, replete with sober crowds planting flowers and wet handkerchiefs and the whole ten yards. My question is — just why are they all doing this at the doorstep of Fukushima(?), as though the reactors had anything to do with the tsunami damage and mass tragedy (but there seems no separation there to the Japanese — and French — media it seems. Just don’t how their heads make the reactor link with all the damage and deaths. And their media perpetuates this??). I picture a gas or coal plant stricken with similar damage would hardly gather so many “fans”.

    James Greenidge
    Queens NY

  4. My first job out of college in the early 1980’s was with FPL. I worked in the General Office on West Flagler. My second day there I was sent to Turkey Point to help Reactor Engineering with a startup/Low Power Physics Testing.

    McGregor Smith had moved on by the time I started but I remember the name. By the 1990’s most of the senior management with utility backgrounds had been replaced by those with experience in more competitive markets. This was to prepare the company for deregulation.

    Great for the stock price. Not so great for the work environment.

  5. The canals were REQUIRED by regulations in order to eliminate thermal discharges into Biscayne Bay. It is disingenuous at best to spin the canals as evidence of corporate greed.

    Our opponents hate us because we maintain a reliable, safe, clean energy source of electrical power which is a threat to either their social engineering plans or corporate profits. I don’t even give them a pass for not being knowledgable as the information is out there.

  6. Thank you for this post, Rod. In the original article, I was totally mystified by the combination of salt plumes (salt comes from seawater), tritium plumes (tritium comes from inside the plant) and drinking water contamination (do they drink Biscayne Bay salt water?).

    The first step in explaining these things is to have a little clarity oneself. You have provided this!

    Thank you again.

  7. I’ve heard that radiation particles of less than a certain energy level don’t activate the body’s mechanisms to mitigate any harmful effects of that particular radiation particle.

    At first blush this seems like a reasonable argument to me. Ofcourse, then http://www.hiroshimasyndrome.com/background-information-on-tritium.html reports a Californian study on the effect of tritium:

    “In 2006, the state of California ran an intensive study on Tritium and concluded that the EPA and NRC-imposed limits on Tritium in water are based on carcinogenic assumptions. (3) An assumption means taking something for granted…a supposition…a hunch. It need not be based on evidence – an assumption can be literally a shot in the dark. In the case of Tritium, that is precisely what the original EPA limits were…a shot in the dark! California found that the only evidence for any negative health effects came from exposing lab mice to enormous levels of Tritium, in excess of 37,000,000 Becquerels per liter!”

    It seems to me tritium’s very low-energy beta emission puts the above argument to rest. Am I missing something here?

  8. Very well written Rod. And even for a professed biased position, your points stay in realm of objective and verifiable. This is the type of writing that helps bring intelligent open-minded people to see the incredibly misrepresented “facts” (i.e. Nuclear Plant Leak Threatens Drinking Water Wells in Florida… there is no LEAK, it’s designed and approved operation) and engage in knowledge-seeking discourse. Those that refute fact with emotion will remain undeterred in their pursuits.

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