Place Your Seatbacks in the Upright Position and Prepare for Meltdown

The busy new Homestead airport will be just five miles from Turkey Point

The NRC has no control over airports, Essig explains; at best, it can recommend that the Federal Aviation Administration impose flight restrictions so planes must avoid the airspace around the nuclear facility. But the FAA has no established criteria pertaining to airports and nuclear power plants, and no specific flight restrictions, says agency spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen. (Neither the NRC nor the FAA could provide a list of U.S. airports located within five miles of a nuclear facility.) The FAA does conduct an airspace study whenever a new structure or landing area is installed at an airport. Bergen adds that an airspace study, separate from the environmental review, would be required if HABDI puts in a second runway. Such a study would take Turkey Point into account.

(In the past, the air force has maintained an informal policy of avoiding flights directly over Turkey Point, even though pilots were not officially required to do so, according to Maj. Bobby D'Angelo, a base spokesman. "It's not a problem," he claims. "It's a big sky.")

FP&L officials insist that Turkey Point's two reactor containment buildings are constructed to withstand the impact of an airplane crash. "It would be no one's favorite day," says corporate manager Mothena, "but there would be more deaths from the crash than anything else." A June 1994 FP&L study concluded that the reactors have "no significant vulnerability to aircraft crashes." But there is no mention of airplanes in the plant's original safety analysis report, which lists the flying objects the reactor containment buildings are designed to withstand. Under the heading "tornado-generated missiles," the heaviest object is a passenger car traveling at a velocity of 50 miles per hour and weighing 4000 pounds.

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