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Nuclear Power Plants At Risk Of Direct Hit By Hurricane Florence

North and South Carolina nuclear power plants are in line for a possible direct hit from Hurricane Florence.

According to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), there are twelve operating nuclear power plants in the Carolinas that make electricity by the continuous splitting of uranium atoms (i.e., a nuclear reaction). These plants generally reside near a body of water—a river, lake, estuary or ocean—because they require a constant source of water for cooling purposes. Without cooling water, a nuclear reactor will overheat, leading to core damage, containment failure, and release of harmful radiation into the environment.

“Florence will approach the Carolina coast Thursday night into Friday with winds in excess of 100mph along with flooding rains. This system will approach the Brunswick Nuclear Plant as well as the Duke-Sutton Steam Plant,” said Ed Vallee, a meteorologist at Vallee Wx Consulting.

“Dangerous wind gusts and flooding will be the largest threats to these operations with inland plants being susceptible to inland flooding,” said Vallee.

He tweeted a few weather models Tuesday morning that forecasts rainfall amounts 15-40″ range in some regions along the coast.

One of those models is the ECMWF Total Precipitation, which shows the most torrential rain could be situated around the two nuclear power plants in Wilmington, North Carolina.

Also, there is a significant risk of “a life-threatening storm surge” of up to 20 feet or higher along the coast where the nuclear power plants sit.

“The latest forecast is projecting that Hurricane Florence willstrengthen “to near category 5 strength” before it makes landfall in the Carolinas, and it is being called “a serious threat to lives and property”. It is extremely rare for a hurricane of this intensity to come this far north, and one expert is claiming that Florence “has the potential to be the most destructive hurricane we’ve had in modern history for this region.”

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