PRLog - Aug. 12, 2011 - JUPITER, Fla. -- The Atomic Safety and Licensing Board established a panel for a public hearing in connection with a Petition filed by Saprodani Associates challenging the Florida Power & Light Company's (FPL) application to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to increase the St. Lucie Nuclear Plant (SLNP) core thermal power level. According to Thomas Saporito, Senior Consultant and representative for Saprodani Associates, "FPL's intent to raise the core thermal power level of the nuclear reactor enganders public health and safety and could result in a complete nuclear plant melt-down similar to the three-nuclear plants that continue to melt-down in Japan. It would be impossible for the public to timely and safely evacuate Hutchinson Island where the plants are located." He said. FPL is currently arguing before the Florida Public Service Commission (FPSC) in an attempt to push nuclear plant related costs to the customers through charges levied on their electric bills. However, according to Saporito, "If the Commission would require FPL to assist its customers with the purchase and installation of on-demand hot water heaters, the customers would save at least 50% or more off-their electric bills - and that would require FPL to actually shut-down existing power plants - not build two more nuclear power plants in the sunshine state of Florida."