FPL sends out nuclear emergency booklets

SOUTH HUTCHINSON ISLAND, FLORIDA - St. Lucie and Martin county residents and businesses within 10 miles of the Florida Power & Light nuclear power plants on South Hutchinson Island can expect their annual safety and emergency evacuation planning booklet in the mail within the next couple of weeks.

The booklets provide information about the St. Lucie nuclear power plants, evacuation routes and emergency planning.

Although the two power plants have never had any accidents requiring evacuation, the power company is required by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to send out the booklets with their detailed instructions and evacuation route maps.

“This actually started after the incident at Three Mile Island in 1979 when they realized there was no coordinated response plan between different agencies,” said Tom Veenstra, FPL’s nuclear communications manager.

The partial meltdown at the Middletown, Pa. power plant caused over 100,000 people to flee from the area around the damaged plant for almost a week.

Today, federal, state and local government agencies work with power companies like FPL to form a coordinated response team. An emergency operations center west of Interstate 95 is where decision-makers from FPL plus the state, local, and federal governments would gather in the event of radiation being released from the plant, Veenstra said.

Florida Power & Light has two nuclear power plants on South Hutchinson Island, along with The Energy Encounter, which is a visitor’s center. It has interactive exhibits about electrical power and how it is created as well as easily understandable explanations and displays related to nuclear power for children and adults.

The first nuclear plant on Hutchinson Island was opened in 1976. The second one began producing electricity in 1983.

FPL and the government agencies participate in one drill outside the power plants each year. FPL conducts drills inside the plants several times a year.

For more copies of the booklet, call the two agencies responsible for public emergency planning: The St. Lucie County Dept. of Public Safety at (772) 462-8100 or the Martin County Division of Emergency Management at (772) 287-1652.


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