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Six nuclear power plants are in Hurricane Florence’s path, officials say via CNN

(CNN)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.
 
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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.
 
In 2012, Duke Energy reported to the NRC that there were hundreds of “missing or degraded flood barriers” at the plant. The follow-up report sent to the NRC by Duke Energy in 2015 was not made publicly available, according to The Union of Concerned Scientists.
 
NRC spokesman Roger Hannah said if the report wasn’t made public it may have been because the report contained security-related information, but he wasn’t aware of the 2015 report’s status. Hannah said the Brunswick plant was up to code ahead of the storm.
 
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He said each plant has resident inspectors on site, and one or two additional inspectors at sites that are expected to be more directly impacted by the storm.
 
“We have staff at every site on the Carolinas for these plants where there’s the expectation of significant effects from the storm,” Burnell said.
Emergency planners have contemplated the risks of a hurricane-related nuclear power plant issue on the East Coast. A hurricane simulation exercise conducted by FEMA and the Energy Department this spring considered how to respond to damage at a nuclear power plant, according to The Associated Press, which first reported the exercise.

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