Hurricane Florence, which achieved landfall early Friday morning, has achieved a direct hit on the Brunswick nuclear power facility in Southport, NC. The eye of the hurricane — where the winds are the most severe — is right now swirling directly over the nuclear power containment buildings, battering them with 100+ MPH winds.
In a call with reporters on Wednesday, Duke officials said a decision on whether to close the Brunswick plant had not been made. But on Thursday morning, a spokesperson told Reuters the company was working to power down the plant’s two units, capable of generating a combined 1,870 MW.
The two reactor Brunswick nuclear plant on the Cape Fear River in North Carolina may be critically threatened by flooding from hurricane Florence. The nuclear plant has a sea wall designed to withstand 22 feet of flooding according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
The National Weather Service in Wilmington NC reported on Thursday that the Cape Fear River is expected to crest at up to 22 feet on Tuesday Sept. 17 swollen by hurricane Florence storm surge and downpours.
The seawall was constructed following the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan after a tsunami overtopped the sea wall and damaged plant electric power and controls leading to catastrophic meltdowns and release of radiation.
The Brunswick reactors are the same GE Mark I reactors that are at Fukushima. It is highly likely that offsite power to the nuclear plant will be disrupted by hurricane Florence. In this case, onsite emergency generators will be required to maintain cooling systems for the nuclear plants and spent fuel ponds filed with highly radioactive waste.
If water overtops the seawall, it can lead to electrical failure and potential for catastrophic events similar to the Fukishima reactor disaster that resulted in multiple reactor meltdowns and hydrogen explosions in overheating reactors.
“It is extremely worrying that the Tuesday forecast is for a 22 foot flood crest at 22 foot sea wall at the Brunswick plant. Inadequate nuclear safety measures once again pose the unnecessary risk of catastrophic accidents,” said energy expert Roy Morrison.
As Natural News reported earlier, there are at least twelve active nuclear power plants in the direct path of Hurricane Florence. Many Americans are concerned about whether these nuclear power facilities are prepared to survive a worst-case scenario of a direct hit.
Now, we know that direct hit has taken place. Thankfully, hurricane winds dropped from 140 MPH to around 100 MPH over the last 48 hours. This may be the saving grace that prevents these nuclear power plants from being severely damaged or destroyed by the storm.
North Carolina officials are currently reporting that nearly half a million customers have lost power.
Media lies to the public about the shutting down of nuclear power plants
The Brunswick nuclear power plant is one of several that have been reportedly “shut down” before the storm’s arrival. But the media, not surprisingly, has been systematically lying to the public about these shut downs.
Nuclear power plants require weeks of cooling pumps to function for an effective shutdown. They can’t simply be switched off in an instant like a light switch. If the cooling pumps fail at any time during the weeks-long shutdown procedure, the nuclear fuel rods can boil off the coolant water and rise in temperature until a nuclear meltdown occurs.
None of this is being reported to the public by the lying media, which routinely whitewashes the risks of nuclear power.
At this point, all we can do is hope and pray the Brunswick nuclear facilities withstand the winds and floods of the storm. Even if something goes wrong with one or more of these facilities, rest assured the media will lie and cover it up even while radiation is released into the atmosphere, just like they all did during the Fukushima catastrophe.
Duke officials watching the storm’s track on Thursday decided to close down the Brunswick plant, which is located about four miles from the coast. The company has six nuclear plants in the path of the storm, but Brunswick is by far the closest to the Atlantic Ocean.
“The magnitude of the storm is beyond what we have seen in years,” Howard Fowler, Duke Energy’s incident commander, said in a statement. “With the storm expected to linger, power restoration work could take weeks instead of days.”
In addition to shutting down Brunswick, Duke and other regional utilities are also working to secure dozens of coal ash disposal facilities, which environmental groups worry could leak and release substance into nearby waterways.
Duke will perform inspections of its ash facilities as the storm passes, the company told Utility Dive this week, and is considering the use of drones for areas inaccessible to workers.
Duke’s bigger worry, spokesperson Paige Sheehan said, are the cooling ponds at its fossil fuel power plants. In 2016, Hurricane Matthew flooded a pond at Duke’s Lee coal plant in North Carolina, prompting outcry from environmental groups.
The utility says it has more than 20,000 workers in place to restore power — the company’s largest ever resource mobilization.
More than 8,000 Duke workers in North and South Carolina 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. Other utilities are sending help as well: Duke said it is expecting almost 10,000 workers from other power companies.
“This is no ordinary storm and customers could be without power for a very long time – not days, but weeks,” said Fowler.