Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Carmel on the Case: Turkey Point security
It doesn't take a genius to know security around a nuclear power plant should be super charged, so why then are there no guards at the gate to Turkey Point? Investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero is on the Case.
WSVN -- Take a look at this. It's the guard house along the only road into FPL's Turkey Point Nuclear Power Plant. It's empty.
For years there was someone on duty here to stop and question vehicles and people coming onto the property. Not anymore.
Mayco Villafana, Florida Power and Light: "The gate has always been a gatehouse, a courtesy gatehouse."
FPL insists the empty guardhouse is not a signal that security here has been relaxed.
Instead, officials say, manning it is now considered unnecessary.
Our photographer was in an unmarked van with dark tinted windows. He was never questioned, as he drove up to the old guardhouse.
Mayco Villafana: "The public should not look at the fact that there is not a full-time guard at the courtesy gatehouse as an inability to protect the power plant."
But neighbors around the plant disagree. One sent 7 News an email: "You can get close to it without having someone approaching you. It is scary."
But FPL says there is no cause for concern.
Mayco Villafana: "The plant is monitored. The minute you arrive, you are monitored, your entrance is monitored. You also have obstructions or road obstructions that are placed to make sure that the entrance, entryway into the secure areas are more secure."
A spokesman for the nuclear regulatory commission told 7 News the guard gate is not required. Adding there are cameras, razor wire and armed guards in and around Turkey Point.
FPL says the gatehouse guards are being used elsewhere on the property.
A few months after Sept. 11, 2001, we were able to come very close to Turkey Point in a fishing boat.
Carmel Cafiero: "We've been fishing here for a couple of hours now, and nobody's paid any attention to us. In fact, we haven't even seen anybody else, and look how close we are to the plant."
Back then, FPL told us just because we couldn't see the security didn't mean it wasn't there, and it says the same is true today.
Mayco Villafana: "It may appear-- when you look at that area-- that it is extremely peaceful and that there is no absolute, no action taking place, but if anything occurs, there are the appropriate plans in place to secure the facility."
Despite the assurances, some neighbors still worry about Turkey Point. They say they would feel better if security was more, not less visible.
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