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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.

"Storm of a lifetime" Florence is still a few days out from landfall along the USA coastline.

There are 16 reactors in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia, the states that likely will sustain the most damage from the storm, but most are located well inland and not expected to experience hurricane force winds.

Brunswick Nuclear Plant and Shearon Harris Nuclear Plant are the closest to where the superstorm will strike, Green added.

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

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About 485,143 people were without power in North Carolina as Florence made its way inward, according to the North Carolina Department of Safety. The number of dots at each location indicates the number of reactors housed at that station. But on Thursday morning, a spokesperson told Reuters the company was working to power down the plant's two units, capable of generating a combined 1,870 MW. "Other plants near the storm's projected path are also taking precautions".

Duke officials watching the storm's track on Thursday chose to close down the Brunswick plant, which is located about four miles from the coast. The storm surge in the area around the plant is expected to reach nine to 13 feet, according to the latest NHC forecast. On its current track, the storm will hit the coast on Friday with maximum sustained winds of about 105 miles per hour.

"We have inspected their storm protections". Diesel generators, with at least seven days worth of fuel, must be on hand to take over, should the plant lose power from the local electric grid. The Robinson plant responded to a temporary loss of off-site power by shutting down safely. "We've got backups for backups", said Green, noting the plant has been through hurricanes before.

The Brunswick plant's two reactors are of the same design as those in Fukushima, Japan, that exploded and leaked radiation following a 2011 magnitude 9 quake and tsunami.

Since Fukushima, all USA reactors have been upgraded with additional safety equipment, including portable pumps and generators to keep cooling water circulating through the reactor in case the plant loses offsite power.


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