Sea-Level Rise to be Ignored in Florida Nuclear Reactor Licensing Review

WASHINGTON – A judicial panel of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission late yesterday agreed to review two measures brought by environmental groups on the proposed license extension of the Turkey Point reactor in Florida. But the panel, the Atomic Safety & Licensing Board, rejected requests to consider the impact of sea-level rise on the plant, which is south of Miami.  

Turkey Point, owned by Florida Power & Light, is the first nuclear facility to seek a license to operate for 80 years. If it gets the license, it can stay in operation until 2053. The petitions were brought by the Natural Resources Defense Council, Miami Waterkeeper, the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy and Friends of the Earth. 

The following is a statement by Geoffrey Fettus, a senior lawyer in the nuclear program at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC): 

“This ruling ensures careful consideration of this plant on the American crocodile and its critical seagrass habitat. 

“If any plant should be planning for the impacts of climate change, it’s this one. But, the board is refusing to examine the impact of sea-level rise on a nuclear facility along the South Florida coast.” 

The following is a statement by Rachel Silverstein, executive director & waterkeeper, Miami Waterkeeper: 

“While we are very pleased that two of our contentions will be heard, the board's failure to consider the specific impacts of sea level rise on this extraordinarily vulnerable facility is deeply troubling. This is not just a Miami issue, it's an issue of national importance that is setting precedent for aging plants across the country.  

“Together, using every tool available, we will continue to fight to ensure that our region has safe, resilient energy.” 


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The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.​ 

Miami Waterkeeper is a South Florida-based non-profit. Our mission is to protect South Florida’s watershed through citizen engagement and community action, ensuring swimmable, drinkable, fishable, water for all. Through our work, we hope to ensure clean and vibrant South Florida waters and coastal culture for generations to come.  Twitter: @Miamiwaterkpr Instagram: @MiamiWaterkeeper 


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