Duke Energy shutting down Brunswick nuclear plant ahead of Florence

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Officials began shutting down the nuclear power plant Thursday as Hurricane Florence approaches (Source: Duke Energy)

The Brunswick Nuclear Plant, located four miles from the coast in Southport, is being shut down as Hurricane Florence moves onshore.

Duke Energy said in a press release Thursday that the two units on the site are systematically being shut down by plant staff.

“We remain in constant communications with local, state and federal officials regarding the status of the plant,” the company reported in a press release, “and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, with inspectors on-site, remains informed of our plans regarding plant shutdown.”

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.

Engineers and staff will be remaining on site at the plant to monitor the situation.

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.”

Duke spokesperson Sara Collins said that the procedure for shutting down the plant is proprietary and cannot be released, but that the process is the same as a standard shutdown the plant does to refuel.

She said that shutting the plant down is part of the disaster preparedness plan that all nuclear plants must have in place.

“There are procedures that every nuclear plant has to follow,” Collins said.

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

“We are very confident in [our operators’] training, in their level of preparation … we’re very confident in what’s happening.”