Hurricane Florence leaves hundreds of thousands without power in North Carolina

17 September, 2018, 03:40 | Author: Billie Castillo
  • Several nuclear power plants in North and South Carolina lie in the path of Hurricane Florence

Duke spokeswoman Mary Kathryn Green said the company was following its procedures and is shutting Unit 1 now and would start shutting Unit 2 at the 1,870-megawatt plant later today.

President Trump declared states of emergency for North and SC and Virginia, opening the way for federal aid.

Directly in the path of the storm are 8 nuclear power plants, located in North Carolina and SC.

Duke's bigger worry, spokesperson Paige Sheehan said, are the cooling ponds at its fossil fuel power plants.

"These facilities have proven their ability to withstand hurricanes and provide electricity to homes and businesses as soon as off-site power is restored and the electricity grid can accommodate the power", he added.

More than 8,000 Duke workers in North and SC are already in the area, and 1,700 workers from Duke Energy Midwest and 1,200 from Duke Energy Florida will also be on hand.

Power outages from Hurricane Florence, which made landfall Friday morning in North Carolina and SC, have topped 945,000 customers.

With public dread over a Fukushima-like accident in the US, how will these plants weather this storm?

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Brunswick is located four miles from the coast and sits 20 ft. above sea level; the storm surge in the area around the plant is expected to reach 9-13 ft.

The National Advanced Hydrologic Advanced Prediction Service predicted flood levels on Cape Fear near the nuclear plant will reach 24.5 feet on September 17, a foot above the previous record of 23.5 feet, according to Weather.com. The Robinson plant responded to a temporary loss of off-site power by shutting down safely.

Diaz said he did not think there would be issues with the power plants in the upcoming storms.

The two reactors at the site, which entered service in 1975 and 1977, are of similar design to some of the reactors damaged at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan after an quake and tsunami in 2011.

In preparing for Hurricane Florence, the NRC statement said that the staffs at Brunswick, Surry in southeastern Virginia, Harris near Raleigh, N.C., Robinson near Hartsville, S.C., and some other plants are working through their severe weather procedures, including ensuring that all loose debris and equipment have been removed or secured, and conducting walk-down inspections of important systems and equipment.

Since Fukushima, all USA reactors have been upgraded with additional safety equipment, including portable pumps and generators to keep cooling water circulating through the reactor in case the plant loses offsite power. "We're satisfied they met current NRC requirements".

The spread of toxic contaminants has been a concern for previous storms.

The cyclone is one of the most powerful hurricanes to have formed in the Atlantic this year.

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