Apr 15 2014
The history and economy of Stuart Florida is closely tied to Florida Power & Light, a major contributor to the extraordinary development of Martin County and Florida itself. Since the mid seventies, with the construction of FPL’s St. Lucie Plant (units1 & 2), located on Hutchinson Island, its presents has influence many life style choices of Stuart, Florida residents.
Literally on Stuart Florida’s doorstep, FPL’s construction of the St. Lucie Nuclear Power Plant on Hutchinson Island became the most significant construction project in Stuart’s history. Florida Power & Light commissioned the station in 1976 and through out the remaining century continued expanded construction of nuclear electric power production capabilities.
In 2012, the St. Lucie County power plants extended power uprate modifications were completed, increasing the electric output from approximately 853 MW to 1,002 MW. The project involved replacing pipes, valves, pumps, heat exchangers, electrical transformers, and generators, some of which were original components of the plant. Perhaps no local resident was more affected by these developments than me.
Stuart Florida Identity: FPL & Me
Born and raised in Stuart, Florida, I was made aware of and impressed by our FPL nuclear electric power plant when still just a boy. By the time I entered high school the idea of working with electricity as a profession seemed like my best career choice.
So, I started my electrical apprenticeship straight out of high school in the mid-1980’s. For the past 30 years since, I have worked as a service and new construction electrician in residential and commercial settings. I am a state-licensed Master Electrician, holding a Florida Unlimited Electrical Contractor’s License (EC13005097).
In 2003 the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) extended FPL’s operating licenses of the St.Lucie units by twenty years, to March 1, 2036 for Unit 1 and April 6, 2043 for Unit 2.
On August 13, 2007, FPL workers at the company’s St. Lucie Nuclear plant in Florida discovered a leak in one of the facility’s condensation pumps. The plant was ordered to reduce its power output until repairs were made.
On March 10 2014, The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy filed a petition to block a St. Lucie nuclear reactor (Unit 2) from returning to service until the public vets unusual wear inside the plant’s steam generators. They argued that plant owner Florida Power & Light omitted components without formal NRC approval, contributing to premature steam generator tube wear.
As a current resident of Jensen Beach, Florida, I hope FPL fares well through its remaining licensing period. My livelihood and possibly my life may depend upon it.