TAKOMA PARK, MD, March 7, 2016 -- A Florida nuclear power plant that sucked a scuba diver through its unprotected cooling intake pipe, is in ongoing violation of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), Beyond Nuclear and the Rachel Carson Council have charged.
The incident at the St. Lucie Nuclear Generating Station on Hutchinson Island, Florida, is the second entrainment of a human at the plant. The first occurred in 1989. However, the plant’s intake system has for decades routinely captured, harmed and killed thousands of marine animals, most notably endangered and threatened species of sea turtle as well as manatees and other protected species. The plant is owned by Florida Power & Light (FPL).
“Sucking in the scuba diver exposes that FPL has failed to act for almost a decade on its ongoing violations of the Endangered Species Act,” said Paul Gunter, Director of Reactor Oversight at Beyond Nuclear, the national group of record that watchdogs the environmental damage caused by nuclear power. “Federal law establishes the terms of FPL’s operating license to set limits on the number of protected marine species that it kills and injures that are caused by power plant operations,” he said.
In 2006 St. Lucie drew in 662 sea turtles, 22 of which FPL admits were killed by the plant’s operation. FPL has been obligated to limit the number of endangered species killed by the plant’s intake system since its operating license was amended in 2001.