Inside a Nuclear Power Plant as Hurricane Florence Approaches

Storm defense has become a more serious matter since the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Engineer with fuel rod handling machine in nuclear power station
Engineer with fuel rod handling machine in nuclear power station
Getty Images/Cultura RF

One of the many areas of concern for regions facing a storm of the scope of Hurricane Florence are nuclear power plants — especially in the aftermath of the 2011 Fukushima Dai-ichi disaster in Japan.

According to  Wired, Duke Energy Corp’s Brunswick nuclear power plant, one such facility in Florence’s path, has had to undergo numerous safety upgrades since it was built in the 1960s.

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

After the Fukushima disaster, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission forced US plants to adjust their safety requirements. But Duke Energy Corp and the NRC have gone back and forth about whether the facility meets the new requirements, as the plant was originally designed to protect itself against only 3.6 feet of storm surge.

The Brunswick plant has taken a number of important safety steps in recent days, bringing in extra employees to work in shifts, inspecting generators, and putting in several waterproof steel barriers. NRC official Scott Burnell said that, “there’s nothing in there to this point that causes us any concern.”

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