Hurricane Irma threatens to impact two nuclear reactors when it hits Florida this weekend, sparking fears of a Fukushima-style catastrophe.
Florida Power & Light’s two nuclear plants, Turkey Point and St. Lucie plant, are mulling shutting down the reactors in preparation for the massive storm.
“If we anticipate there will be direct impacts on either facility we’ll shut down the units,” said FPL spokesman Peter Robbins, adding that the decision would be made “well in advance.”
Irma, a Category 5+ storm, is set to make landfall in Florida by Saturday morning.
The Turkey Point plant weathered the Category 5 Hurricane Andrew in 1992, despite the $90 million in damages sustained in the rest of the area.
Irma, on the other hand, has sparked fears of a Fukushima-like incident at the two nuclear plants.
A nuclear power plant in Fukushima, Japan melted down in 2011 after an earthquake and tsunami disabled the reactor’s emergency generators, which led to three nuclear meltdowns and the release of unprecedented amounts of radioactive material.
The historic incident forced about 160,000 residents to flee their homes, and the cleanup of the radioactive substances in the region remains ongoing after nearly seven years of intensive containment and cleanup efforts.
As we reported, the U.S. government and media downplayed the devastation amid concerns a radioactive plume would cross the Pacific and settle across California.