Miami, FL — South Florida residents may have a serious problem on their hands if the city of Miami goes through with their plans of storing radioactive waste directly under their drinking water. This decision has been made in spite of the fact that numerous studies have warned that there is a danger that this waste could contaminate the drinking water supply.
Florida Power & Light, the local utility monopoly, is planning on building two large nuclear reactors and will be using the aquifer to store their waste.
A 2015 study by the US Geological Survey of seismic reflection stated there are faults along the aquifer that “…could provide high permeability passageways for groundwater movement.” Also, Limestone is known for being porous, as demonstrated in numerous other studies.
Citizens Allied for Safe Energy (CASE) has organized to attempt to stop the plan, but their petition was shot down without review.
“This was thrown out on procedural grounds. The science is still there,” CASE’s president, Barry J. White told The Miami New Times
The group was told they filed their petition too late, despite the fact that they had solid evidence of the dangers that this project cold pose.
“Everything will be put into a supposedly ‘hermetically sealed’ Boulder Zone. But anybody who lives in South Florida knows nothing below us is hermetically sealed,” White said.
An FPL spokesperson responded to the claims by denying that the project is a safety risk.
“After an exhaustive and comprehensive review of the proposed Turkey Point Units 6 & 7 project, including the plans to safely use reclaimed water for cooling, the independent Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s staff concluded ‘…there are no environmental impacts to preclude issuing Combined Licenses to build and operate two reactors next to the existing Turkey Point nuclear power plant,” a statement from the company read.
However, White along with other activists and environmentalists say that there is extensive evidence showing the risks.
“The evidence is so strong that it’s doubtful the zone is ‘hermetically sealed,” White said.
To make matters worse, recent studies by the U.S. Geological Survey of seismic-reflection profiles acquired in onshore canals and offshore in Biscayne Bay and the Atlantic continental shelf have indicated the presence of tectonic faults, which means that this region could face an earthquake or other similar disruption that could break down the barriers between the clean water and the waste.
The Urban Paradise Guild, another local environmentalist group, has joined the fight and started a new petition against the measure.
“Obviously, the concern to me is there are too many unknowns. The idea that there is some level of ‘acceptable risk’ when it comes to our water supply is unfortunately being given credence. There is no ‘acceptable level of risk.’ Even if there is a 1 percent chance, or a quarter of a percent chance, that there could be a nuclear contamination of our groundwater, that is too much of a risk,” Urban Paradise Guild’s president Sam Van Leer said.
“Unfortunately, our laws and regulations have been written by lobbyists, and so we can’t depend on our government to protect us,” he says. “I understand this is a procedural decision, based on timing, rather than content. But for NRC to allow something that the United States Geological Survey has already said ‘there could be problems here’ is deeply troubling,” Leer added.
To add insult to injury, FPL’s Turkey point has already been leaking radiation. A recent study commissioned by Miami-Dade County concluded that the area’s four-decades-old nuclear power plants at Turkey Point are leaking polluted water into Biscayne Bay.
This has raised alarm among county officials and environmentalists that the plant, which sits on the coastline, is polluting the bay’s surface waters and its fragile ecosystem, reports the NY Times. In the past two years, bay waters near the plant have had a large saltwater plume that is slowly moving toward wells several miles away that supply drinking water to millions of residents in Miami and the Florida Keys.
Samples taken during the study show everything from the deadly radioactive isotope, tritium, to elevated levels of salt, ammonia, and phosphorous. So far, according to the scientists conducting the study, the levels of tritium are too low to harm people. However, in December 2015, and the following January, the levels were far higher than they should be in nearby ocean water which is a telling sign of a much larger underlying problem.
What does it say about government, when they allow a company, with a known track record of pollution, to store radioactive waste under the water supply of millions? It certainly doesn’t say they have your best interests in mind.