Florida Nuclear Power Plant Is Leaking Radiation Into the Ocean
Study finds tritium levels in Biscayne Bay up to 215 times higher than normal
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 10, 2016 6:37 PM CST
A new study suggests the Turkey Point Nuclear Power Plant in Florida is leaking radioactive tritium into nearby Biscayne Bay.   (AP Photo/Alan Diaz, File)

(Newser) – A nuclear power plant in Florida described by critics as "environmentally fragile" is almost certainly leaking radioactive cooling water into the nearby ocean, the Miami New Times reports. "You would have to work hard to find a worse place to put a nuclear plant, right between two national parks and subject to hurricanes and storm surge," South Miami mayor Philip Stoddard says. The Turkey Point Nuclear Power Plant near Miami has been around for four decades and powers more than 1 million homes, according to Fusion. But problems started being detected with the system of canals used to cool it two years ago after Florida Power & Light increased the plant's power output. Now a study released Monday found tritium levels in Biscayne Bay up to 215 times higher than normal, the Miami Herald reports.

It's unclear at the moment if those levels of tritium, a radioactive isotope, are dangerous to people or animals, but they are high enough to "suggest a consistent flow" from the cooling canals into the ocean. A state representative calls the study "the last straw" and is asking the EPA do something to "protect the public." Stoddard says he and others warned Florida Power & Light about the canals years ago but were ignored. "They argued the canals were a closed system, but that's not how water works in South Florida," he tells the New Times. Just two weeks ago, a judge ordered the utility to fix the canals because they were contaminating groundwater and potentially endangering drinking water. Stoddard says there are only two solutions: replacing the canals with cooling towers or shutting the whole thing down.(Radioactive groundwater was detected in New York City.)