Nuclear power plants have one of the lowest impacts on the environment of any energy source. They not only avoid the burning of fossil fuels—emitting virtually no air pollution—but they also isolate waste from the environment and use little land for production purposes.
Clean air benefits
- Nuclear power plants aid national compliance with the Clean Air Act, which sets standards to improve the nation's air quality. Because nuclear plants produce no greenhouse gases or emissions associated with acid rain or urban smog, using more nuclear energy gives states additional flexibility in complying with clean-air requirements.
- The four nuclear units at these plants help FPL prevent millions of tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions per year, the equivalent of taking millions of cars off the road.
- Power plants use significant volumes of water in the process of generating electricity, but actually consume a small amount of water relative to other uses in modern life. Of all the freshwater consumed in the United States, electricity generation accounts for 3.3 percent—less than half of the freshwater consumed by residential use (6.7 percent), according to the US Geological Survey.
- Scientific studies conducted at power plant sites across the US — and reviewed by federal and state authorities — demonstrate that "once-through" cooling systems do not adversely impact the aquatic life of the water bodies where they are located.
Land conservation and wildlife habitat
- Because nuclear energy sites have such large buffer zones and small impacts on their surroundings, they provide excellent habitat for birds, mammals, plants, reptiles and other wildlife.
- For example, Turkey Point only uses about one-tenth of its property for power production; St. Lucie uses about one-fourth. Most of the remaining property is left in its natural state and serves as a wildlife preserve, providing homes to endangered or threatened species.
- More than 100 species of birds and animals live at our plant sites, including the American crocodile at Turkey Point and various species of sea turtles at St. Lucie. FPL conducts research on local wildlife and offers programs to increase public awareness. Efforts at Turkey Point have led to Florida's reclassification of the American crocodile from an endangered to threatened species.
- Our Turkey Point plant was recognized with the nuclear industry's top award for land management and environmental stewardship.
- FPL and our parent company, NextEra Energy, also support a broad range of local ecology programs, including wetlands recovery, tree planting, park and trail maintenance and recycling.
Constant environmental monitoring
The local areas surrounding FPL's St. Lucie and Turkey Point nuclear power plants are constantly monitored for environmental health and safety:
- We sample air, water, vegetation, sediments, fish and invertebrates to ensure strict adherence to government standards.
- Independent state agencies also monitor the environment surrounding the plants.
- Water released from our nuclear power plants is continuously checked to ensure it meets regulatory standards for temperature designed to protect aquatic life.