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TheStreet Open House

FPL Completes Massive, Multi-year Upgrade Of Nuclear Power Plants

JUNO BEACH, Fla., April 18, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Florida Power & Light Company today announced the successful completion of a five-year, multibillion-dollar investment to upgrade its Turkey Point and St. Lucie Nuclear Power Plants, adding more than 500 new megawatts of clean energy capacity.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20120301/FL62738LOGO )

At approximately 1:30 yesterday afternoon, Turkey Point Unit 4, the final unit to undergo an upgrade as part of the project, was connected to Florida's electrical grid. The upgrades of Turkey Point Unit 3, located in Miami-Dade County, and St. Lucie Units 1 and 2, located in St. Lucie County, were completed in 2012.

"With consistently low fuel costs, zero emissions and the ability to operate around the clock, nuclear power is a critical component of our state's energy mix today and tomorrow," said FPL President Eric Silagy. "By increasing the amount of power that our nuclear plants can generate, this investment added the equivalent of a new, medium-sized power plant to Florida's generation fleet, without having to build one."

The upgrades, known as "extended power uprates" are massive, highly-complex engineering projects. FPL surpassed the initial projection of 399 megawatts for the entire investment at the end of 2012, and the project is estimated to deliver nearly 30 percent more capacity than originally projected. The project – the largest U.S. nuclear project in recent history – involved an enormous construction effort at both plants, including:

  • Thousands of Jobs: An average of about 3,500 people worked on the project every day during 2012 alone;
  • Millions of Work Hours: More than 22 million man hours of work – more than three times the number of hours it took to build the Empire State Building – with approximately 4 million hours alone dedicated to engineering;
  • Miles of Materials: The work involved the installation of 38,000 feet (more than seven miles) of electric wiring conduit; 288,500 feet (more than 50 miles) of electrical cable and approximately 16,000 linear feet of pipe (approximately three miles).

In addition, this work contributed to the state's economy, particularly in the communities surrounding the plants. Roughly half of the personnel employed for construction were Florida residents. Also, local hotels, restaurants and other services benefitted from an influx of specialized workers that had to be brought in from outside the state for components of the project.

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