As to the nuclear reactors in Florida, one is located at Turkey Point. The hurricane is now passing the Dominican Republic. But from West Palm Beach south, it's been a decade since a significant storm cleared vegetation and tree branches, Gould said.
It threatens to knock out power to more than 4.1 million homes and businesses served by FPL, affecting around 9 million people based on the current storm track, the utility's chief executive said. Because the track of this storm is unclear, many utilities along the East Coast and Gulf Coast are holding onto their crews until they know what is headed their way.
Meanwhile, Florida Power and Light (FPL) estimated that almost 3.4 million of its customers could be without power at some point during Hurricane Irma.
But Florida Power and Light say they're ready.
"With a storm of this magnitude, there will be widespread destruction throughout our service territory, and most of it will be in the most densely populated areas of South Florida", said Eric Silagy, the president and CEO of FPL, in a release. And while 40-percent of power lines are now underground, those underground lines can be impacted by storm surge and flooding. Minnesota Power crews were on standby after Hurricane Harvey hit Texas, but did not get called up.
Repairing equipment and reconnecting lines can be done more quickly than rebuilding the electric grid, which FPL warned on Friday could be the case in the tri-county region.
FPL crews have been restoring power even as outages continued to grow, with plans to work until the winds got too strong for safety.
'We have to wait until the winds subside to 40mph to get on the road, 35mph to get buckets in the air'.
Let us hope that things start settling down, but unfortunately, I don't think that is going to happen any time soon...
The company, which serves about 10 million power customers across almost half of Florida, may have to physically rebuild parts of the power system, Gould said. Now if we have any damage to a plant it's prioritized.
The operator of the power plant, Turkey Point and St. Lucie, Florida Power & Light, plans to close the facilities, an operation that takes about 24 hours. "This storm has the potential to eclipse Hurricane Andrew".
Once the nuclear plants are shutdown, other non-nuclear plants, fossil and natural gas, are expected to generate enough to power to make up for losses unless they are severely damaged by the storm.