Hurricane Irma poses toughest test for U.S. nuclear industry since Fukushima
Hurricane Irma will pose the toughest test yet for U.S. nuclear power plants since reactors strengthened their defenses against natural disasters following the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident in Japan in 2011, APA reports quoting Reuters.
Irma was on course to hit South Florida early on Sunday after slamming Cuba as a Category 5 storm. It weakened to a Category 3 storm with maximum sustained winds of 130 miles per hour (210 km per hour) on Saturday, but was expected to strengthen before reaching Florida, bringing a storm surge to a state home to four coastal nuclear reactors.
The National Hurricane Center’s forecast track shows Irma making landfall on the southwest side of the Florida Peninsula, west of the two nuclear reactors at the Turkey Point plant.
The operator, Florida Power & Light (FPL), has said it will shut Turkey Point well before hurricane-strength winds reach the plant. The reactors are about 30 miles (42 kilometers) south of Miami.
FPL said it will also shut the other nuclear plant in Florida at St Lucie, which also has two reactors on a barrier island on the state’s east coast, about 120 miles (193 km) north of Miami.
“We will shut the reactors down 24 hours before Category 1 force winds are forecast to hit,” FPL Chief Executive Eric Silagy told a news conference.
FPL said both Turkey Point and St Lucie were designed to withstand storms stronger than any ever recorded in the region and both plants are elevated 20 feet (6 meters) above sea level to protect against flooding and extreme storm surges.
But South Miami Mayor Philip Stoddard said he was concerned about the potential for floods to damage power generators at Turkey Point, which in turn might threaten the ability of the plant to keep spent nuclear fuel rods cool. At Fukushima in Japan, an earthquake and tsunami disrupted power supplies and caused the fuel in some units to meltdown.
“The whole site is pretty well able to handle dangerous wind, the real problem from my perspective is water,” Stoddard said. He said he was more worried about the nuclear waste than the reactors.
Related news releases
- 23.06.2018Operation desert storm memorial to be built in Washington, DC
- 23.06.2018Trump urges Republican lawmakers to drop immigration bill until election
- 22.06.2018Trump prolongs sanctions against North Korea for another year
- 22.06.2018Venezuela to back OPEC + decisions aimed at stabilization of oil price
- 22.06.2018Pentagon asked to house up to 20,000 migrant children
- 22.06.2018US House rejects conservative immigration bill
- 21.06.2018Trump signs order halting separation of families
- 20.06.2018House to vote on Thursday on immigration bills
- 20.06.2018US withdraws from UN Human Rights Council
- 19.06.2018US, Russian top diplomats discuss Syria over phone
- 19.06.2018Trump orders creation of US 'Space Force'
- 17.06.2018Argentina to replace energy and production ministers
- 16.06.2018At least 17 dead in Venezuelan nightclub after tear gas blast
- 16.06.2018Kushner, Haley hold talks with UN chief on humanitarian needs in Gaza
- 16.06.2018U.S. warns Americans of terrorism threat at World Cup in Russia
- 16.06.2018Trump supports Republican immigration bills in U.S. House: White House
- 16.06.2018U.S. judge sends ex-Trump campaign head Manafort to jail pre-trial
- 16.06.2018Trump sets tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese goods; Beijing strikes back
- 15.06.2018Trump tells G7 leaders that Crimea is Russian
- 15.06.2018Pompeo says North Korea sanctions to remain until complete denuclearisation
- 15.06.2018UN calls for vital port of Hudaydah to stay open
- 15.06.2018Nicaragua president's foes stage nationwide strike
- 15.06.2018DoD Chief Mattis Discusses With S Korean Counterpart Results of Singapore Summit
- 15.06.2018US forces conduct airstrike in Libya, manage to kill one terrorist
- 14.06.2018Facebook's chief of communications, policy to step down
- 14.06.2018Norwegian politicians nominate Donald Trump for Nobel Peace Prize
- 14.06.2018UN votes to condemn Israel's 'excessive force' against Gaza Protests
- 14.06.2018Top White House officials planning to quit
- 14.06.2018Volcanic ash forces Guatemala airport to suspend operations
- 14.06.2018Trump says summit removed North Korean nuclear threat
- 14.06.2018Antarctic thaw quickens, trillions of tonnes of ice raise sea levels
- 13.06.2018Trump, Iran spar over oil prices ahead of OPEC meeting
- 13.06.2018Trump says no war games while North Korea negotiates in good faith
- 13.06.2018New US sanctions will have no effect - Russia’s Foreign Ministry
- 13.06.2018Kim Jong-un, Donald Trump accept each other's visit invitations
- 12.06.2018UN Sec Gen: implementing agreements by US, North Korean leaders requires patience
- 12.06.2018US must sustain maximum economic pressure on Pyongyang - House Speaker
- 12.06.2018Trump top economic adviser suffers heart attack moments before Trump-Kim Summit
- 12.06.2018US sanctions new Russian entities over cyberattacks
- 12.06.2018US extradites former Panamanian president
- 10.09.2017Death toll from massive Mexican quake rises to 65
- 10.09.2017Hurricane Irma nearing landfall in US Florida coast
- 11.09.2017Eight dead after shooting in Texas
- 09.09.2017US State Dept confirms US, Russian senior diplomats’ upcoming meeting in Helsinki
- 09.09.2017Hurricane Irma makes landfall in Cuba as Category 5
- 09.09.2017Mexico's strongest quake in 85 years kills dozens in the poor south