The people of Florida are being targeted by one of the most aggressive storms of our modern era, as Hurricane Irma continues her determined path toward the Sunshine State.
Mandatory evacuations have been issues for a large portion of the state, particularly in the south where Irma looks to make landfall over the weekend. After carving a destructive and downright terrifying path through the Caribbean already, Floridians are being urged to make preparations for the worst.
While islands such as Barbuda are now literally 90% destroyed, there are two sites in particular that worry Florida authorities as Irma begins to bear down on the state: Nuclear power plants directly in the path of the storm.
“The last time a major hurricane hit the Turkey Point nuclear power plant, it caused $90 million in damage but left the nuclear reactors along southern Biscayne Bay unscathed.
“In anticipation of powerful Hurricane Irma, which projections on Wednesday showed headed straight for South Florida, Florida Power & Light’s two nuclear plants were finalizing staffing plans and cleaning up the grounds. But neither Turkey Point nor the St. Lucie plant farther up the coast had made the call yet to shutting down the plants.
“Peter Robbins, spokesman for FPL, said shutting down a reactor is a gradual process, and the decision will be made “well in advance” of the storm making landfall.
“’If we anticipate there will be direct impacts on either facility we’ll shut down the units,’ he said.
“The St. Lucie Nuclear Power Plant is equally protected, Robbins said, and can withstand severe flooding from storm surges. St. Lucie’s nuclear plant survived Hurricanes Frances and Jeanne in 2005 and Wilma the year after.”Even with assurances from those on the ground, the mere thought of the Atlantic’s most powerful hurricane smashing into not one, but two nuclear power sites is absolutely nerve-wracking.