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Will Hurricane Florence Damage Multiple Nuclear Power Plants?

Odds are you’ve already heard about Hurricane Florence. The upcoming storm has achieved category 5 potential, threatening death and destruction to the entire Carolina area. No doubt there’s preparation to be had for those in the area. But there’s one other issue that many are overlooking: there are 12 different nuclear power reactors in the Carolinas.

South Carolina

  • Catawba Unit 1
  • Catawba Unit 2
  • Oconee Unit 1
  • Oconee Unit 2
  • Oconee Unit 3
  • H.B.

North Carolina

  • Brunswick Unit 1
  • Brunswick Unit 2
  • McGuire Unit 1
  • McGuire Unit 2
  • McGuire Unit 3
  • Shearon Unit 1

The Brunswick plants are the primary targets for concern, due to their proximity to the coast and placement directly in the storm’s pathway. Should the event damage the facilities enough to cause an issue with core cooling, a meltdown could occur.

As for what would happen if a meltdown took place, that depends on the facility. Many reactors have a number of safety features to contain a meltdown before it escapes. The containment chamber likely has it’s own security measures. Assuming it maintains its own structure, it can contain the near entirety of the radiation, while the core itself is destroyed.

This is, of course, assuming the containment system remains entirely intact. In the Chernobyl accident, a steam explosion and graphite fire had caused significant damage before the actual meltdown occurred. When the entire facility is stricken immensely with water and storm, there’s little certainty to the overall stability.

With any luck, the facilities will be fine. But should things break bad, well I hope you have a bug out location a good ways away you can live in.

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