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The U.S. May Soon Have the World's Oldest Nuclear Power Plants

Neighbors and scientists are worried, but operators argue there’s no better way to provide carbon-free energy.

Turkey Point Nuclear Generating Station sits roughly 25 miles south of Miami, on Aug. 22, 2019.

Turkey Point Nuclear Generating Station sits roughly 25 miles south of Miami, on Aug. 22, 2019.

Photographer: Jeffery Salter/Redux
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Bonnie Rippingille looked out at the wisps of steam curling from the Turkey Point Nuclear Power Plant across Biscayne Bay with a sense of dread. In December federal regulators approved Florida Power & Light Co.’s request to let the facility’s twin nuclear reactors remain in operation for another 20 years beyond the end of their current licenses. By that point they’ll be 80, making them the oldest reactors in operation anywhere in the world.

“That’s too old,” said Rippingille, a lawyer and retired Miami-Dade County judge who was wearing a blue print shirt with white sea turtles on it. “They weren’t designed for this purpose.”