St. Lucie Nuclear Power Plant aerials in Jensen Beach, Fla., Sept. 2, 2010.

Our Commitment to Safety

The St. Lucie Nuclear Power Plant has an outstanding record of safe operations. It is designed to withstand earthquakes and other natural events stronger than ever recorded in the region. It is elevated 20 feet above sea level to protect against flooding and extreme storm surges.

In addition, many layers of security protect the plant. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission, federal and local law enforcement, as well as FPL’s own expert security team, are always on alert to ensure that plant facilities are protected and secure. The site also added many redundant safety systems and equipment following the Fukushima incident in Japan.

As part of our commitment to safety, we test our emergency response system signals regularly. Outdoor warning sirens are tested by local emergency management officials on the first Thursday of March, June, September and December, and last two minutes or less.

Learn more about the St. Lucie Nuclear Power Plant.

This site contains important emergency planning information for people located within 10 miles of the St. Lucie Nuclear Power Plant. It was developed by emergency management officials and provides basic information about what to do in the event of a nuclear emergency.

Emergency Information

Planning is an important part of FPL’s strategy to protect you and your family. State and local officials, together with FPL, have prepared a detailed emergency plan to protect people who live, work, visit or go to school within 10 miles of the plant. The plan is tested by evaluated exercises and inspections. Conducting emergency drills improves the overall readiness of local authorities and enhances their ability to respond to emergencies. This information is updated annually.

In An Emergency

  • In an emergency at the St. Lucie Nuclear Power Plant, everyone within the emergency planning zone will be notified of the nature of the emergency, and what, if any, action you should take.
  • If an emergency requires you to take any action, outdoor warning sirens will sound throughout the entire 10-mile emergency planning zone.
  • Emergency management officials will issue emergency alerts via radio and television transmission signals as well as mobile and digital emergency alert networks.
  • Hearing an outdoor warning siren or receiving an emergency alert does not necessarily mean to evacuate the area.
  • Local fire, police and emergency officials also may patrol affected areas within the emergency planning zone to broadcast information via loudspeakers and/or go door-to-door to ensure residents are aware of the situation.
  • Officials may use boats and/or loudspeakers to alert those on waterways and in recreational areas.
  • The 10-mile zone has been divided into evacuation/sheltering areas. These areas were established to allow local officials to provide clear evacuation and/or sheltering information for people in each area. If there was an accident at the St. Lucie Nuclear Power Plant, it is not likely everyone within the 10-mile area would be affected. The area affected depends upon weather conditions, such as wind speed and direction and the severity of the situation.
  • Outdoor Warning siren tests are conducted by local emergency management officials on the first Thursday of March, June, September and December. In rare circumstances, sirens may also occasionally be triggered by lightning or electrical storms.

Alerts and Warnings

There are four emergency classifications at nuclear power plants. Each type calls for a certain level of response from plant and government personnel.

  • An Unusual Event is a minor incident such as severe weather. Because of strict regulations, a number of events must be classified and reported as “unusual events” even though they pose no threat or danger to the public. Unusual Events do not require you to take any action.
  • An Alert is a minor incident that affects, or could potentially affect, reactor safety. There is the possibility of a small, limited release of radioactive material, but there is no danger posed to the public. No public action is required.
  • Site Area Emergency is a more serious incident such as: a major leak from the reactor coolant system; or an incident in which radioactive releases are possible or are occurring but will not affect the areas beyond the plant property. Outdoor warning sirens will sound, alerting the public to tune to local radio or television stations for official information.
  • General Emergency is the most severe emergency classification. Radioactive releases that could affect the areas beyond the plant property are possible or are occurring and/or a major security event has occurred at the plant. Outdoor warning sirens will sound, alerting the public to tune to local radio or television stations for official information.

What To Do

  • If you hear an outdoor warning siren or receive an emergency alert, tune to local radio or television stations or check the internet for more information. Hearing a siren does not mean to evacuate. Get more information before deciding what to do.
  • If there is an emergency, please check with family, friends and neighbors in the area to ensure they are aware of the situation and can take action if needed.
  • Residents within the 10-mile emergency planning zone should familiarize themselves with the area map, evacuation routes, and emergency reception center location information in this website.
  • If your children are in school, familiarize yourself with the school’s emergency response plan. Do not go to the school. If instructed to relocate, students will be relocated to emergency reception centers beyond the 10-mile emergency planning zone. You can pick up your children at those locations.
  • If you have a family member in a nursing home or hospital, do not try to pick them up. These facilities also have their own emergency evacuation procedures. You should check with them to familiarize yourself with these procedures.
  • Make transportation arrangements in advance and pre-register people with special needs. Contact local emergency management officials to let them know of any special needs you may have.
  • Familiarize yourself with sheltering in place and evacuation information.

Sheltering in Place

In the unlikely event of an emergency at St. Lucie Nuclear Power Plant, you may be instructed to shelter-in-place, which means you should immediately go indoors. If you are already inside, stay there. Often sheltering-in-place provides the best protection.

Take the Following Steps:

  • Bring children and pets indoors.
  • Tune to an official radio or television station to monitor the situation and prepare to take additional directions from local officials.
  • DO NOT pick up children at schools, preschools, or registered daycares. Children will be sheltered in the school building and cared for by school personnel.
  • Limit non-emergency phone calls.
  • Close and lock all doors and windows. Locking doors and windows can provide a tighter seal.
  • Turn off all ventilation systems that draw in outside air (furnaces, fans, fireplaces and window air conditioners).
  • Continue using central air conditioners if they recirculate the air inside the home.
  • Cover food or place it in the refrigerator.
  • Move to an interior room or basement.
  • If you must go outside, cover your nose and mouth with a folded, damp cloth. When you return indoors, wash your face and hands and take a lukewarm shower, if possible.
  • Do not evacuate unless you are told to do so.

If you are in your car, at work or away from home

  • Close car windows, vents, and shut off heating and cooling systems that draw in outside air.
  • Keep your radio tuned to an Emergency Alert System station.
  • If your home is in an area being told to shelter-in-place, do not try to go home. Seek shelter in a nearby building or leave the emergency planning zone.

Evacuation Information

In the unlikely event of an emergency at the St. Lucie Nuclear Power Plant, you may be asked to evacuate your home. State and local governments have established strict guidelines to ensure your safety and will provide updates on the actions you should take through local radio and television stations.

Take the following steps:

  • Secure your home.
  • Secure any livestock. Leave enough water and food to last several days.
  • Take basic necessities including toiletries, bedding, and medicine for a few days. Bring a photo ID with your address. Click here for a full evacuation checklist.
  • Follow the evacuation routes provided. Law enforcement officers will be stationed along the way to direct you to the nearest emergency reception center outside the emergency planning zone.
  • In the event of an evacuation, emergency public transportation will be provided to those who need it. Contact your local emergency management agency to pre-register.
  • Stay tuned to local media outlets for more information.

Emergency Reception Center Information

  • Residents who are directed to evacuate should proceed to the nearest emergency reception center outside the 10-mile emergency planning zone
  • The emergency reception centers are designed to provide adequate food, shelter and communications.
  • You will be reunited with, or receive information about, relatives who may have been independently evacuated from the emergency planning zone.
  • If conditions warrant, the health department will make potassium iodide tablets available at the emergency reception centers. Potassium iodide has been shown to counteract the effects of radiation exposure. For more information about potassium iodide, contact your county health department.

St. Lucie County Residents:

  • If school is in session, school children will be proactively relocated to designated facilities. Do not attempt to pick children up at their school.
  • Residents living north of Prima Vista/St. Lucie West Boulevard will be directed to emergency reception centers in Indian River County and Brevard County. Specific emergency reception center information will be posted on the St. Lucie County website.

Indian River Emergency Reception Center:
9450 County Road 512, Sebastian, FL 32958

Brevard County Emergency Reception Center:
Valkaria Rest Stop
Mile marker 168.1 northbound Interstate 95

  • People living south of Prima Vista/St. Lucie West Boulevard will be directed to emergency reception centers in Palm Beach County. Specific emergency reception center information will be posted on the St. Lucie County website.  

Palm Beach County Emergency Reception Centers:
John Prince Park
2520 Lake Worth Road, Lake Worth

Okeeheelee Park
7715 Forest Hill Boulevard, West Palm Beach

  • Law enforcement officers will be stationed at traffic intersections to provide assistance. Tune to local media outlets for more information.

Review the map provided to determine your best evacuation route.

Martin County Residents:

  • If school is in session, school children will be proactively relocated to designated facilities. Do not attempt to pick children up at their school.
  • Martin County residents who live north of Roosevelt Bridge and all residents of Hutchinson Island will be directed to emergency reception centers in Palm Beach County. Specific emergency reception center information will be posted on the Martin County website.  

Palm Beach County Emergency Reception Centers:

John Prince Park
2520 Lake Worth Road, Lake Worth

Okeeheelee Park
7715 Forest Hill Boulevard, West Palm Beach

  • Law enforcement officers will be stationed along the way to provide assistance.
  • Tune to local media outlets for more information.
  • Review the map provided to determine your best evacuation route.   

Pets

If you are directed to evacuate, you will want to take your pets with you.  Plan now for what you will do and how you will protect them. Please keep in mind that pet owners are ultimately responsible for their pet’s needs at the public shelter.

Pet Guidelines:

  • Space for pets at public shelters is limited and is intended for individuals with pets living in areas ordered to evacuate.
  • Owners should bring identification since it may be necessary for pet and owner reunification.
  • Pet owners should bring a kennel or carrier, food for five days, bedding, bowls, toys, and any needed pet medications.
  • Livestock and reptiles will NOT be accepted at public pet shelters.
  • Aggressive animals or animals classified as dangerous or potentially dangerous may be sedated or need special handling to eliminate the threat to the public or responders.
  • All dogs and cats should have a current rabies vaccination, dog license, or microchip, and be current on flea and tick preventive measures.
  • The opening and closing of the pet portion of the shelter will coincide with the opening and closing of the general population shelter.
  • The shelter will not be liable for lost items, injury, and contraction of contagious diseases or parasites from other animals.
  • Pet owners will not be permitted to leave the shelters without their pets.
  • Only service and ESP animals will be permitted to accompany their owners in the general population shelter areas. Other animals may be housed in a separate area of the shelter.

Information for Farmers

If you have livestock:

  • Place the animals in an enclosed shelter if possible. Provide for adequate ventilation to prevent overheating and suffocation.
  • If you are told to evacuate, leave enough water and food for several days.
  • Use stored feed when possible.
  • Tune to local radio or television stations for additional instructions and information.

If you grow food products:

  • Do not eat or sell products until further instructions are issued by agricultural officials.
  • Tune to local radio or television stations for additional instructions and information.

For more information, contact your local agricultural extension agent and ask for the brochure titled, Agriculture and Nuclear Power in Florida."

Health Concerns

If you require evacuation assistance, make arrangements now

If you require help to evacuate due to a medical condition, specialized transportation need or other evacuation assistance requirement, you should preregister with your local emergency management agency.

Individuals who may require evacuation assistance include those who:

  • are unable to evacuate on their own due to a specialized transportation requirement
  • are homebound residents that do not have anyone that can provide transportation
  • have medical needs that prevent them from evacuating on their own
  • are bed bound patients
  • are electrically dependent patients on life sustaining medical equipment that requires electricity
  • may require assistance with activities of daily living

For additional information on the Emergency and Evacuation Assistance Program, please visit the county or state’s emergency management’s website.

Residents in a nursing home, hospital, assisted living facility, private school, daycare, preschool, or jail facility

  • These facilities will follow their emergency management plans, which include evacuation procedures.
  • Check with the facility in advance to verify its evacuation plan.

Understanding Nuclear Energy Radiation

Benefits of Port Saint Lucie Nuclear Power Plant

  • Produces no greenhouse gases or emissions
  • Produces clean, reliable and affordable electricity
  • Provides hundreds of high-quality jobs for local residents
  • Is a leader in environmental stewardship in the region
  • Is an economic engine for the entire state

Understanding Nuclear Power Plants

Nuclear power plants create steam to turn the blades of a turbine to generate electricity. Nuclear plants use uranium fuel in a process called nuclear fission. The fission reaction generates heat to create steam.

The uranium fuel inside the reactor is radioactive. It is securely contained and constantly monitored to protect public safety and health. The fuel is encased in ceramic pellets which are stacked end-to-end inside long metal tubes. The tubes are assembled into fuel bundles that are immersed in water in the reactor core. The core is housed inside a nine-inch thick pressure vessel. That vessel is inside a robust containment building made of steel-lined concrete.

What is Radiation?

Radiation is not new or mysterious – it is a natural part of our environment. Radiation is energy that is given off as a particle or wave and radioactive elements are naturally occurring in small amounts throughout our environment. In the United States, natural sources account for most of the radiation we are exposed to each year. Radiation also comes from medical tests such as X-rays, CT scans and nuclear medicine studies. Normal everyday items such as smoke detectors also emit small amounts of radiation. Less than one percent of the radiation to which people are exposed comes from nuclear power plants.

chart of radiation sources

 

 

Radiation is measured in units called millirems. A millirem is a unit used to measure the amount of radiation a person receives. The graphic shows how much radiation we get from different sources. For radiation to cause any measurable biological effect in human beings, most scientists agree that the exposure must reach about 25,000 millirems in a single, short exposure.

Exposure to large amounts of radiation can be harmful to human health. However, given the nuclear industry’s strong commitment to safety, such exposures are extremely unlikely.

Numerous monitoring devices placed in and around the Turkey Point Nuclear Power Plant can detect even minute amounts of radiation. If radiation amounts increase above naturally occurring background levels, the monitoring equipment would alert plant operators, who would notify state and county officials.

Potassium iodide

Special protective actions are available to prevent exposure to radioactive iodine. Iodine is a major fission product which may be released during nuclear power plant accidents. Iodine is of particular interest because it tends to concentrate in the thyroid gland, just as iron concentrates in blood or calcium in bone.

An amount of radiation exposure which would be of little concern if spread throughout the entire body, may become a problem if concentrated in the thyroid. To prevent this exposure, you may be advised to take a thyroid blocking pill, typically containing potassium iodide. The thyroid blocking pill contains non-radioactive iodine which, when taken before or immediately after exposure to radioactive iodine, saturates the thyroid with non-radioactive iodine. Since additional iodine will not be absorbed by the thyroid, any radioactive iodine subsequently taken up by the body will remain spread throughout the body and will be quickly excreted.

Authorities are required to have potassium iodide (KI) readily available for residents within the 10-mile emergency planning zone around a nuclear power plant. These residents are considered most at risk, and initial distribution will be focused primarily on that mission. As more personnel and resources become available, KI may be available to others. It must be understood that use of a thyroid blocking pill is not an adequate substitute for prompt evacuation or sheltering by the general population near a plant in response to a severe accident.

Emergency plans are designed to protect you in the unlikely event of a nuclear station emergency. State and local government officials have established guidelines to protect people from radiation. These guidelines call for protective actions at levels far below those that could be harmful to your health. If state and local officials expect radiation levels to reach the established guidelines, the emergency alert system will be used to let you know how you can best protect yourself and your family.