April 7, 2006

Reward offered over hole drilled in Florida nuke

MIAMI (Reuters) - Florida's main electricity company
offered a $100,000 reward on Friday for information about who
might have -- inadvertently or deliberately -- drilled a hole
in a pipe at one of its nuclear power plants.

Workers at Florida Power & Light Co., a unit of FPL Group
Inc., found the tiny hole in part of the Turkey Point power
plant's pressurized cooling system on March 31 after doing
pre-startup tests on the Unit Three reactor, which had been
shut down for routine maintenance.

The FBI, which is investigating the incident, said in a
statement that "at no time was the public's safety at risk"
from the hole, which measured 3/16th of an inch.

An FPL spokeswoman said the reactor at Turkey Point, south
of Miami, would never have been started up with a hole in the
pipe and that particular pipe was also in an area that could be
isolated from the rest of the system.

She said the offer of a sizable reward did not mean the
company had decided sabotage was the likely cause and had ruled
out an honest mistake by contract workers hired for the
monthlong maintenance.

Many of the contract workers had since left Florida and
might be unaware of the investigation into the hole, she said.

"This way they will certainly hear about it," she said.