Minnesota Power Company to Help Hurricane Irma Victims

Duke Energy's Crystal River Energy Complex in Crystal River Fl

"Based on Hurricane Irma's current track, we expect all of our Florida service area to feel the effects of this powerful storm", said Luis Ordaz, Duke Energy Florida storm director.

"We now have an army, frankly, of 13,500 restoration workers, both FPL crews and outside crews ready to respond as soon as it's safe to do so". Governor Rick Scott has warned that it appears to be a stronger one compared to Hurricane Andrew which had hit the state in August 1992.

FPL held a news conference on Friday to update customers about the work they were doing in preparation for the massive storm expected to hit Florida on Sunday morning. FPL has more than 16,000 workers from almost 30 states, including as far away as California, dedicated to planning and preparing to respond to Hurricane Irma. "We want to thank all of our customers ahead of time for their patience".

However, when the eye of Hurricane Andrew reached the Turkey Point Power Plant 25 years ago, it damaged several nearby facilities with 145 miles per hour winds and gusts up to 175 miles per hour, according to the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

FPL is encouraging its customers to prepare for prolonged power outages, with some customers experiencing more than one outage throughout the duration of the storm. FPL is the nation's third-largest electric utility and serves about 10 million customers in South Florida.

While FPL will be working around the clock, this is likely to be a multi-week restoration.

"We have arguably one of the strongest grids in America, but no grid is created to be able to withstand a Category 5 storm that has wind approaching 185 miles per hour [300 km/h]", Gould said.

Companies who supply nuclear power are confident that the existing facilities can withstand high-speed storms. An quake in Virginia in 2011 shut Dominion Energy Inc's (D.N) North Anna plant for about 2-1/2 months, the time it took to complete a full damage inspection. They must be cooled off after shutting down or a meltdown can occur causing hydrogen-air explosions and release of radioactive material.

But neither Turkey Point nor the St. Lucie plant further up the coast had made the call yet to shutting down the plants. The diesel generators live in bunkers near the reactors, and those bunkers also include considerable reserves of fuel. The St. Lucie plant is equally protected. But the nuclear plants, he said, were secure.

Once the nuclear plants are shutdown, other non-nuclear plants, fossil and natural gas, are expected to generate enough to power to make up for losses unless they are severely damaged by the storm.

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