At FPL, environmental excellence is a core value of our company - and a key part of our commitment to the safe and efficient operation of all our facilities. Our goal is always to protect public health, safety, and the environment.
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.
Because of nuclear power's ability to provide large-scale amounts of electricity without emitting greenhouse gases, state and federal policymakers recognize it as a necessary source of safe, reliable energy that can help address global warming while meeting our nation's growing energy demand.
Already, FPL's St. Lucie and Turkey Point nuclear power plants provide more than 20 percent of our total electricity output, while preventing millions of tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions per year, the equivalent of taking millions of cars off the road. The new units at Turkey Point would avoid an additional 255 million tons of CO2 emissions over the life of the project.
- The area around Turkey Point Units 6 & 7 provides an excellent habitat for birds, mammals, plants, reptiles, and other wildlife.
- Turkey Point only uses about one-tenth of its property for power production. Most of the remaining property is managed as habitat for endangered and threatened species.
- More than 100 species of birds and animals live at our plant sites, including the American crocodile at Turkey Point.
- FPL and our parent company, NextEra Energy, support a broad range of local ecology programs, including wetlands recovery, tree planting, park and trail maintenance, and recycling.
Our efforts to improve nesting opportunities at the Turkey Point site have played an integral role in the growth of the once-endangered American crocodile population. While there were only one or two nests and 30 hatchlings around the Turkey Point cooling canal system in the late 1970s, today there are approximately 22 nests and about 400 crocodiles living within the plant’s cooling canal system at any given time.
FPL initiated a comprehensive crocodile monitoring program in the early 1980s, consisting of:
- Intensive night-time surveys of the entire 150 miles of cooling canals during nesting season
- Tagging and marking hatchlings
- Day-time surveys during the beginning of nesting season for evidence of nesting activity
- Monitoring and managing the crocodile population
FPL has undertaken several important activities at the Turkey Point site to further enhance nesting opportunities and to promote the survival of young crocodile hatchlings, including:
- Construction of fresh water areas in the cooling canal system at known nesting sites
- Removal of exotic vegetation (such as Australian pines) from nesting areas
- Preservation of native vegetation near nesting areas
- Relocation of hatchlings to more suitable habitat and to further protect them from predators
- Careful coordination of maintenance activities to ensure the safety of the crocodiles
- Hiring of an on-staff crocodilian expert to manage the program
Maintenance of FPL's 13,500-acre Everglades Mitigation Bank, located immediately south and west of the Turkey Point site, provides additional habitat protection for the crocodile.