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FPL says it's improving 'safety culture' at nuclear plants

Safety and security concerns have repeatedly cropped up at the Turkey Point nuclear power plant in recent years: snoozing security guards, a disgruntled contractor drilling a hole in a pipe, a senior operator quitting at midnight over concerns about restarting a reactor too quickly, to name a few.

But Florida Power & Light executives told federal regulators on Monday that a two-year effort to improve the ``safety culture'' is making considerable headway.

``We're not perfect,'' said Gene St. Pierre, an FPL vice president who led the implementation of a program called the Nuclear Excellence Model. But, he added: ``We're learning and we have a passionate desire to improve.''

FPL requested the public meeting, held in Palm Beach Gardens, with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to tout what executives described as a top-to-bottom safety overhaul: more management oversight, more safety meetings, improved monitoring, clearer and more frequent communication, rewards to employees for following safety protocol and wider efforts to encourage employees and contractors to report their safety concerns.

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