Economy

Nuclear plants in Florence's path prepare to weather storm

Nuclear plants in Florence's path prepare to weather storm

Since Florence is expected to hit with Category 1 winds, the plant has to be shut down two hours before the storm hits, according to federal law.

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The release says that there are multiple levels of protection in place to protect the plant, but that shutting it down helps mitigate effects beyond what the region is used to.

Florence is now a Category 2 storm with maximum sustained winds of 110 miles per hour (177 kph), according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC).

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The USA's nuclear power plants have weathered hurricanes before.

He added: "Those power plants are, one, obviously hardened".

Two at-risk nuclear power plants - one with the same design as the Fukushima plant - are in the center of Hurricane Florence's path of destruction when it makes landfall later this week.

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

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Collins said that Duke does not want Brunswick County residents to be anxious about the shutdown, but to focus on staying safe.

According to a 2004 NRC report, Brunswick was rated to be waterproof against a storm surge of up to 6.7 metres (22 feet). Restoring power to all customers could take weeks, it said. The Robinson plant responded to a temporary loss of off-site power by shutting down safely.

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 quake and tsunami.

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.

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According to the News-Observer, the Fukushima plants backup generators flooded, which stopped the flow of cooling water to the reactor vessel. "We're satisfied they met current NRC requirements".