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Electric Power

To meet projected demands for electrical energy, the Florida Power and Light Company has recently added two nuclear reactors at Turkey Point and plans to construct an additional fossil fuel plant. Until recently, water used to cool the reactors was returned to Biscayne Bay at above normal temperatures. This raised the temperatures of the local bay to a level that affected the marine environment, which was especially noticeable in summer when the water temperature in the bay was already high.

Today, an alternative method of recycling cooling water is being tried. A large system of shallow canals dug in the mangrove and coastal marsh shoreward of the bay, nearly 168 miles in total length, will conduct hot water away from the plant, allow it to cool by radiation, and then recycle. This system has led to the destruction of more than 6,000 acres of mangrove and coastal marshes.

photo of cooling canals
More than 10 miles of cooling canals have been constructed at the Turkey Point power plant to cool the circulating water. (Photo by Penny Zobel) [larger image]

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U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
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Last updated: 04 September, 2013 @ 02:04 PM(TJE)