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Florida Power Outage Strands Millions of Floridians

Nuclear power plant hiccups - what happened?

Florida's Southeastern seaboard suffered widespread power loss this afternoon when power at Turkey Point in Florida surged. The nuclear power plant immediately went into an emergency shutdown, which cascaded into massive power outages throughout the state.

"We don't know whether the grid disturbance caused the units to shut down or that their shut down caused the grid disturbance," said Kenneth Clark, a spokesman at the NRC regional office in Atlanta.

According to Rueters, the outage caused "snarling traffic at intersections and trapping residents in elevators."

The Turkey Point station is located in Florida City in Miami-Dade County, 25 miles south of Miami.The outage spread as far north as Tampa on the Gulf of Mexico, a domino chain of blackouts. Flights out of Miami were only minimally affected.

"There are no safety concerns. The reactors shut down as designed," Clark said. Both reactors continued to have offsite electric power, and two coal-burning power plants at Turkey Point also shut down, he said.

Homeland Security Department spokeswoman, Laura Keehner, confirmed that terrorism is not suspected, nor is foul play.

The whole incident reminds me of August 14, 2003 when most of Ontario and much of northeastern U.S. were hit by the largest blackout in North America's history. More than 50 million people lost power that day, some for days.

Once the threat of terror was ruled out, the evening without power wasn't such a bad thing. No cell phones, no TV, no computers - the whole world seemed quiet.

A power play at nuclear plant is a different story though, one that won't leave anyone in the southeastern US enjoying the evening until answers are found.

Are you in Florida? Any news on what happened?

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