The company plans to continue operating its natural gas plants during the storm, as long as it is safe and below 100 miles per hour winds, and to get them back online as soon as possible if it shuts them down, FPL president Eric Silagy said at a press conference.
FPL did not give specific timing for the shutdown, but the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) said it expects Turkey Point, located south of Miami, will be taken offline the evening of September 8, with the St. Lucie facility on Hutchinson Island, north of West Palm Beach, likely being shut down early on September 9.
Power plant workers had just a few minutes of warning before the 30-foot tsunami hit and disabled the power supply and cooling of three Fukushima Daiichi reactors, which caused a nuclear accident. And while 40-percent of power lines are now underground, those underground lines can be impacted by storm surge and flooding.
The inspectors will remain at the nuclear plant sites and the incident response centre will remain staffed until the agency is assured that the storm no longer poses a risk to these facilities, the agency said. The Category 5 storm is projected to hit Florida this weekend and many are anxious about nuclear power plants that lie in its path.
The operator, Florida Power & Light (FPL), has said it will shut Turkey Point well before hurricane-strength winds reach the plant.
"Once restoration begins in earnest, our goal is to get as many customers up and running as soon as possible and we will not stop until all power is restored", the company's statement said.
Customers should be prepared to go without power for weeks, Silagy said.
Limbaugh to Evacuate Florida After Questioning Coverage of Irma
By Thursday Limbaugh had changed his tune, calling Hurricane Irma "dire" and a "mammoth", The Hill reported . Residents in the storm's path have been strongly urged to follow instructions from local officials.
'Take it seriously, ' said Maj.
Florida Power & Light announced Thursday that it is putting workers in place around the state to quickly respond to possible power outages in the wake of Hurricane Irma. They will be proactively shut down to avoid damage until the water subsides. FPL expects even more crews to arrive and they'll be positioned in 20 staging sites set up throughout damaged areas.
"We will shut the reactors down 24 hours before Category 1 force winds are forecast to hit", FPL Chief Executive Eric Silagy told a news conference.
Residents should be careful with backup generators, keeping them outside to avoid exhaust, and stay away from downed power lines, warned FPL CEO and President Silagy on Friday.
"Restoring power through repairs is measured in days, while rebuilding our electric system could be measured in weeks", Silagy added.
"I'll do anything in my power to convince [people] this is a very serious storm".