Nuclear Plant Operations

North Carolina has nuclear power plants in three counties: Brunswick, Mecklenburg and Wake. In addition, the 10-mile emergency-planning zone for a South Carolina nuclear plant overlaps into a portion of North Carolina. All four plants are operated by Duke Energy.

State and local emergency management officials work together year round to coordinate emergency response plans and activities in the unlikely event of a radiation release at any of these four plants. Task forces  -- comprised of emergency response officials, law enforcement, first responders and public health officials from each of the impacted counties -- meet regularly to discuss plans, procedures and issues to ensure that those who are responsible for protecting the public are ready to respond at a moment's notice. Nuclear plans, mandated by the federal government, include the evacuation of residents within a 10-mile emergency zone BEFORE a release of radiation occurs. Portions of the plans are tested regularly and drills for each plant are held and evaluated every two years by both the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

The Brunswick Nuclear Plant  is located just north of Southport, N.C on the Cape Fear River. The plant is a two-unit boiling water reactor location with a generating capacity of 1,875-MW. Unit 2 began commercial operation Nov. 1975 and Unit 1 in March 1977.

The Harris Nuclear Plant is located about 22 miles southwest of Raleigh, near New Hill, N.C. The plant is a single-unit pressurized reactor location with a generating capacity of 900-MW. Harris began electric generation operations in May 1987.

The McGuire Nuclear Station is located 17 miles northwest of Charlotte on Lake Norman, in Huntersville, N.C. The station is a two-unit pressurized water reactor location with a generation capacity of 2,200 MW. Unit 1 began commercial operation in 1981, followed by Unit 2 in 1984.

The Catawba Nuclear Station is located 11 miles southwest of Charlotte on Lake Wylie in York County, South Carolina. The station is a two-unit pressurized water reactor location with a generation capacity of 2,258 MW. Unit 1 began commercial operation in 1985, followed by Unit 2 in 1986.