Federal officials expressed confidence the six nuclear power plants in Hurricane Florence’s path are safe, but some experts aren’t so sure, warning that flooding and torrential rains could overwhelm their defenses.
The six nuclear power plants in North and South Carolina sit directly in the storm’s projected path, according to Mary Catherine Green, spokeswoman for Duke Energy, which owns all six.
Duke’s Brunswick Nuclear Plant and its Shearon Harris Nuclear Plant near Raleigh, both in North Carolina, are the closest to where the hurricane is forecast to make landfall, Green said.
In a press briefing, Jeff Byard, associate administrator for the FEMA Office of Response and Recovery, said the agency was not concerned about the power plants in the storm’s path “at this time.”
“Those power plants are, one, obviously hardened. 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. “Obviously, it’s something that we track and monitor but at this time we’re not concerned with any issues pertaining to the nuclear power plants.”
However, The Union of Concerned Scientists, a science-oriented public policy organization, is concerned about the Brunswick plant’s ability to withstand the storm, because of what the group says is a lack of publicly available information about the plant’s readiness. According to the group, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has not released public information validating that the plant has been properly updated to protect against flooding.
Ellie Kaufman, Gregory Wallace and Rene Marsh – CNN – September 12, 2018.