Two Florida nuclear power plants in the path of Hurricane Irma are shutting down to brace for the powerful storm, CNN reported.
Florida Power & Light announced Thursday it will shut down the Turkey Point and St. Lucie nuclear plants ahead of Irma's expected arrival this weekend. The two facilities are Florida's only operating nuclear power plants. Both are located on Florida's east coast, which is bracing for Irma’s winds.
"This is an extremely dangerous storm," Rob Gould, chief communications officer at Florida Power & Light, told reporters.
Gould said the nuclear sites are among the strongest in the United States and are designed to withstand heavy wind and storm surge, CNN reported.
Turkey Point, located just south of Miami in Homestead, survived a direct hit from Hurricane Andrew in 1992. However, the facility did suffer $90 million in damage from that Category 5 storm, according to press reports.
"This storm has the potential to eclipse Hurricane Andrew," Gould said.
Florida Power & Light declined to give specific timing on when the nuclear plants will be shut.
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said it expects Turkey Point to be shut down Friday evening and St. Lucie to go offline about 12 hours later, depending on the storm track.
The country has 61 operating nuclear power plants in 30 states, according to the Energy Information Administration.