The nuclear reactor design that Florida Power & Light picked for its expansion at Turkey Point has safety flaws that its manufacturers and federal regulators have overlooked, according to a technical analysis commissioned by environmental groups.
The report -- made public Wednesday -- contends that the reactor's steel-walled containment vessel, the protective barrier from radiation, is more vulnerable to developing rust and holes than older reactors. That, coupled with the design of its emergency cooling system, could multiply exposure risks in the event of an accident, the report concludes.
Arnold Gundersen, a nuclear engineer who produced the report for a dozen national and regional environmental groups, said during a teleconference that the AP 1000 design by the Westinghouse Electrical Co. was ``entirely different'' from older designs and also ``inherently less safe.''
The groups, including Miami-based Citizens Allied for Safe Energy, which has opposed the Turkey Point expansion, called on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and Westinghouse to halt licensing of the reactors until their concerns are addressed.
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