What lessons can Florida learn from Japan’s recent nuclear disaster?

June 2, 2011

The ongoing disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant has sparked fears about nuclear safety. South Floridians want to know if this type of disaster would be possible here and, if so, what is being done to prevent it. Expanding nuclear energy is a debate that could significantly impact the price and availability of power. Are we equipped to handle whichever direction is chosen? Antonio Fins, senior editorial page editor from the Sun-Sentinel, will moderate the discussion.


Robert C. Speth, PhD., Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Nova Southeastern University.

Dr. Robert Speth came to Nova Southeastern University in September 2009. In the past 30 years, Dr. Speth has become an acknowledged expert in the physiological effects of radiation on the human body. He has an extensive background in pharmacology, neurology, radioiodination and ethnomedicine. His article, “Cooler Heads Will Prevail In A Nuclear Crisis” appeared in Newswire, April 5, 2011. Dr. Speth also wrote a Sun-Sentinel op-ed about the dangers of radiation exposure following the crisis at Japan’s Fukishima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.

Philip K. Stoddard, Mayor, City of South Miami

A biological scientist and professor, with specializations in animal behavior and neurobiology, Mayor Stoddard is a tireless and committed advocate for safe, clean energy. In 2010, with this issue as a lynchpin to the campaign, he defeated a 10-year incumbent mayor in a landslide. He has formed a multi-city coalition to find an alternative to FPL power line plans and to promote green energy. Stoddard wrote in a letter to The Miami Herald that “Miami-Dade County is grossly unprepared to deal with a significant radiation release.”

Jerry Paul, President and Managing Member, Capital Energy Florida

A nuclear engineer and attorney, Mr. Paul formerly served in the Florida House of Representatives, where he served as Deputy Majority Whip, chaired the House Subcommittee on Environment Regulation and chaired the House Subcommittee on Environmental Appropriations. He also served on the committees of Energy, Appropriations, Business Regulation, Natural Resources and Public Security. His primary areas of policy interest have been energy, environment, national security and homeland security.  He is respected both in Florida and Washington as a leading voice on energy policy.

Steven D. Scroggs, Senior Director, New Nuclear Project Development for FP&L

Following 10 years of naval nuclear submarine service, Mr. Scroggs provided consulting services to the independent power industry and directed performance testing for Calpine Corporation.  In 2003 Mr. Scroggs joined FPL as the Manager of Integrated Resource Planning. He assumed his current position in 2006. He holds BS and MS degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Missouri and Penn State University, respectively.

MODERATOR: Antonio Fins, Sr. Editor Outlook, Sun-Sentinel

SPONSOR:    Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance