Waste Management

When it comes to minimizing our waste footprint, we believe in the basics: reduce, reuse and recycle.

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Managing Waste

Most industries produce waste in one form or another, directly or indirectly.

At NextEra Energy, we believe minimizing our waste footprint presents an opportunity to deliver outstanding value for our environment, customers, communities, employees and shareholders. We produce a variety of waste streams, including:

  • Construction waste streams resulting from development;
  • Non-hazardous waste generated from office operations; and
  • Radioactive waste produced from operating a clean, safe nuclear fleet.

All of these waste streams are managed in accordance with state, provincial and federal regulations.

FPL's operations and support service teams look for opportunities to reduce, reuse and recycle materials so that we minimize the waste that we must send to local landfills.

Reduce

We believe that the best way to deliver value by minimizing our waste footprint begins with reducing the amount of waste we generate in the first place.

That's why we've:

  • Modernized many of our facilities to reduce the amount of oil-ash generated;
  • Banned the use of chlorinated solvents at our facilities; and
  • Eliminated the use of hydrazine, a hazardous chemical.
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Reuse and Recycle

The next step to minimize our footprint is to reuse or recycle materials that could not be eliminated from our waste stream.

A few of our reuse and recycling accomplishments include:

  • Refurbishing approximately 1,850 streetlights;
  • Recycling more than 28,600 units of oil-filled equipment and more than 300,000 gallons of mineral oil;
  • Recycling more than 11 million pounds of scrap wire and scrap metal;
  • Recycling nearly 400,000 lbs. of electronic waste;
  • Recycling more than 18,000 tons of vegetation waste;
  • Donating approximately 12,000 yards of wood to local recyclers;
  • Processing more than 220,000 pounds of paper and cardboard for recycling using the labor of employees from Palm Beach Habilitation Center, a non-profit agency that provides employment to individuals with disabilities; and
  • Donating concrete power poles to an artificial reef program in Florida, which used the poles to provide additional habitats for marine life at seven different reefs.
Florida Turkey Point Nuclear Power Plant

Used Nuclear Fuel

We’re complying with all federal and state regulations to ensure that our used nuclear fuel is disposed safely.

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Used nuclear fuel, also referred to as spent fuel rods, is a byproduct of power generation at every nuclear power plant in the world, including NextEra Energy's five nuclear power plants. Spent uranium fuel rods comprise the majority of high-level waste, while low-level waste is generally considered to be any material that enters the containment area, including contaminated protective shoe covers and clothing, wiping rags, mops, filters, reactor water treatment residues, equipment and tools.

Currently, spent fuel is safely contained in cooling pools at nuclear power plant sites and then transferred to onsite dry storage systems – a safe, secure, and well-proven technology that has been used for more than 20 years at more than 55 nuclear plant locations in the U.S. Dry storage facilities are heavily secured through a variety of proven measures, including high-tech security and surveillance systems, radiation monitoring, regular security patrols, as well as multiple levels of physical barriers. Dry storage has proven to be both secure and environmentally sound. The facilities are specifically designed and tested to provide protection from extreme natural events such as high winds and flooding associated with hurricanes, storm surges, heavy rain events, tornadoes, fires and earthquakes.

Low-level radioactive waste can be safely removed and disposed of offsite at two facilities within the U.S. NextEra Energy complies with all federal and state regulations to ensure that this waste is disposed safely.

Site Remediation and Restoration

When we build or acquire facilities, we identify and mitigate any issues regarding ground contamination or degradation.

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Companies like ours that have been operating for many years or have acquired sites from other companies have a responsibility to comply with all laws and regulations concerning petroleum and chemical contamination at company-owned sites and to prevent future occurrences. At NextEra Energy, we're committed to addressing these issues, so that our soil and groundwater are not degraded. Site remediation activities are conducted in compliance with all local, state and federal requirements. Remedial activities range from associated removing underground storage tanks to decommissioning assets as part of our efforts to modernize our power generation fleet. While remediation is often driven by regulation, we also look for opportunities to implement best practices that go beyond regulatory requirements.