Published: Fri, September 14, 2018
Research | By Jody Lindsey

Toxic Waste Sites and Nuclear Plants Lie in Path of Hurricane Florence

Toxic Waste Sites and Nuclear Plants Lie in Path of Hurricane Florence

Brunswick Nuclear Plant, four miles inland in Southport, N.C., is now in the path of Hurricane Florence. Staff at that plant, plus Dominion Generation's two-unit Surry in south eastern Virginia; Duke Energy's Shearon Harris in North Carolina; and Robinson in SC; and some other plants are working through their severe weather procedures, the NRC said. Our operators are skilled at managing events, such as extreme weather, safely shutting down the generating units, and maintaining the units in a safe state until conditions allow for their return to service.

"Those power plants are, one, obviously hardened". This provides the capability to deal with events that might go beyond previously experienced events or the recorded history for the region. With public dread over a Fukushima-like accident in the USA, how will these plants weather this storm?

Hurricane Florence is also expected to cause widespread environmental damage, including triggering catastrophic waste spills from sewage treatment plants, hog waste lagoons and chicken farms that line the Carolinas coast. "Two, they have backup generators for power and we will rapidly assess any impacts to a nuclear power plant post-storm", Byard said in a call with media.

Additional NRC inspectors are being sent to plants in the affected areas, where NRC resident inspectors are reviewing operator preparations.

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The locations of nuclear power plants in North and SC. As a precaution, the power plant's reactor (s) must be shut down at least two hours before the storm's strongest winds arrive.

The Union of Concerned Scientists, said it was anxious about the Brunswick plant's capabilities to weather out the storm. Brunswick's boiling water reactors are similar to ones that melted down at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan in 2011, after a massive tsunami there. Emergency equipment, such as generators and pumps, are checked to ensure full operability.

While there is little chance of a nuclear accident due to Florence, there is a bigger concern to public health from the storm - toxic waste.

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