Tampa-area nuclear plant operator: “Intake canals bring water from the Gulf of Mexico” for cooling; Power shutdowns if oil arrives

Progress Energy Florida Press Release:

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Progress Energy Florida is working to ensure the company is prepared in the event oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico reaches the company’s coastal power plants. ...

"We are in communication with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Coast Guard, local governments and other authorities, as well as our oil spill-response contractor and are ready to respond," said Vincent Dolan president and CEO of Progress Energy Florida.

"Our coastal power plants maintain a boom system for their canals. If the oil approaches our plants, we will work with our oil spill-response contractor to augment the existing protective measures."

The company is also working with other utilities to share information and best practices learned from previous spills that have impacted power plants.

Progress Energy Florida operates four power plants on the Gulf Coast. Three of these plants have intake canals: Anclote power plant in Holiday (Pasco County), the Crystal River Energy Complex in Crystal River (Citrus County) and the Bartow power plant in St. Petersburg (Pinellas County). Intake canals bring water from the Gulf of Mexico to the plants. The water is used for cooling purposes and returned to the canals. A fourth coastal plant, the Bayboro power plant, in St. Petersburg, has a barge canal used for fuel delivery.

Progress Energy has strong internal systems and a comprehensive emergency-planning process dedicated to ensuring safe and reliable power. The company also has vast experience in staging and logistics, field communications, emergency preparedness, environmental issues and resource management. In addition, Progress Energy is a recognized utility leader in storm response planning and restoration.

Progress Energy Florida... provides electricity and related services to more than 1.6 million customers in Florida.


850 AM:

Crystal River Nuclear Power Plant Braces for Oil Spill's Impact

As the oil off Louisiana’s coast continues to threaten wildlife, tourism, and the fishing industry, nuclear power plants along Florida’s Gulf coast are also on edge.

Progress Energy spokeswoman Susan Grant says... they are definitely preparing for the worst at locations like their Crystal River Nuclear Plant. ...

She says Progress Energy is taking no chances considering the potentially devastating effects of oil entering their plants.

Progress Energy is [also] making preperations at their Anclote Plant in Pasco County and their Bartlow Plant in Pinellas County.


Discovery Channel:

As oil from the massive Deepwater Horizon slick in the Gulf of Mexico laps at Louisiana’s shores and tar balls wash up on beaches in the Florida Keys, saltwater-dependent power plants on the Gulf Coast prepare for the worst.

“We’ve been monitoring the spill since it began,” says Suzanne Grant, a spokesperson for Progress Energy Florida, which runs four power plants on Florida’s Gulf Coast. Three of the plants pump in water from the Gulf to cool their turbines. ...

Nineteen thermoelectric power plants on the coasts of Florida, Mississippi, and Texas suck in a total of 51 billion liters of seawater per day, according to a 2005 survey by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.


Will the booms be effective in stopping the oil from reaching the cooling canals? Oil routinely passes through booms in Louisiana. Construction, installation, and maintenance have proven inadequate. Undersea oil plumes may also be a factor in the penetration of the booms.

The latest NOAA 72-hour forecast has the boundary of the oil spill just 50 miles from the Tampa area on June 6.

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