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Six Nuclear Power Plants Are In Hurricane Florence’s Path

17 September 2018

Duke Energy has shut down the Brunswick Nuclear Power Plant ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Florence.

The electricity provider says it began powering down one reactor early Thursday and would start shutting the second reactor later in the day.

The Brunswick plant's two reactors are of the same design as those in Fukushima, Japan, that exploded and leaked radiation following a 2011 magnitude 9 natural disaster and tsunami.

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.

The Brunswick plant is near Cape Fear and just south of Wilmington, North Carolina.

Tropical Storm Florence dumped "epic" amounts of rain on North and SC as it trudged inland on Saturday, triggering unsafe flooding, toppling trees, cutting power to almost a million homes and businesses while causing at least five deaths.

The commission on Wednesday said it's sending additional inspectors to plants in North and SC and is activating its regional incident response center in Atlanta, to provide around-the-clock staff support during the storm.

As of 11 a.m. Hurricane Florence was about 485 miles southeast of Wilmington, N.C., with maximum sustained winds of 130 mph.

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Hurricane Florence is predicted to make landfall near the Brunswick Nuclear Power Plant located on the coast North Carolina.

The USA's nuclear power plants have weathered hurricanes before. Emergency diesel generators at both plants operated as designed, and off-site power was restored within 24 hours.

NRC said it "is also sending additional inspectors to those plants and will activate its regional incident response center in Atlanta, to provide around-the-clock staff support during the storm".

A hurricane simulation exercise conducted by FEMA and the Energy Department this spring considered how to respond to damage at a nuclear power plant, according to The Associated Press, which first reported the exercise.

According to the News-Observer, the Fukushima plants backup generators flooded, which stopped the flow of cooling water to the reactor vessel.

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.

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

Six Nuclear Power Plants Are In Hurricane Florence’s Path