Crystal River, Florida - This year we saw how a natural disaster could lead to a nuclear emergency. The earthquake and tsunami in Japan was a world away, but got everyone thinking about our own vulnerabilities here in the Tampa Bay area. While the natural disasters are very different from one another, can the Crystal River Nuclear Power Plant handle the unthinkable, an historic direct hit from a category 5 hurricane with massive storm surge and high winds?
Jon Franke, Vice President of the Crystal River Nuclear Plant for Progress Energy tells us that "our license requires we are designed for the category 5 storm surge. That places the base of the plant at 30.5 feet mean low water. In addition, we have water tight doors which place the building's, umm, capable of withstanding wave heights even above that cat 5 hurricane storm surge which protects the basic equipment required to maintain the plant in a safe shutdown condition."