Fears Grow Over Nuclear Reactors In Hurricane Florence’s Path
There are potentially as many as seven nuclear reactors in Hurricane Florence’s path. Hurricane Florence is strengthening throughout the day and may reach the devastating Category 5 classification as it heads towards the Carolinas. The storm is expected to expose both states, including the nuclear reactors, to at least 24 hours of hurricane intensity.
South Carolina operates a total of seven nuclear reactors across which supply almost half of the state’s electricity.
North Carolina operates five nuclear reactors that supply just over 30% of the state’s electricity. The North Carolina nuclear reactors in the Brunswick plant are causing concern due to their coastal locations. The 1,200 acres that plants reside on are near Southport, North Carolina. These plants could be exposed to the triple threat of dangerous winds, floods, and storm surge.
One thing is almost certain: Hurricane Florence will interact with major nuclear reactors in some capacity no matter what her exact decided path settles on. Hurricane Florence could cause catastrophic meltdowns in the region. A nuclear meltdown would expose people trapped in the region to contaminated water and air.
For some, the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster that resulted from an earthquake and tsunami is causing concern that a similar tragedy could play out in the Carolinas if Hurricane Florence does indeed strike the coastline as a Category 4 or 5. Hurricane Florence latest news predicts that the storm, currently tracking at 15 MPH, will slow down substantially once it reaches the coastline of the Carolinas.
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This slow down will serve to amplify the intensity of an already dangerous hurricane. Longer exposure to intense rains, tidal surges, and wind, will compromise structures throughout the region. How well equipped the nuclear reactors are is anyone’s guess.
It is likely that the structures are rated for hurricane grades, but less likely that they are built to withstand a Category 5 hurricane that lasts a day and a half.
Aside from the nuclear reactors in Hurricane Florence’s path, there are also coal-ash pits and industrial waste sites that pose major contamination threats throughout the Carolinas. Some hog farms in the Carolinas utilize lagoons for animal waste. Hurricane Florence’s storm surges and flash flooding events may cause overflows and breaches of this waste.
Hurricane Florence could impose catastrophic loss of life and damage like nothing the United States has ever seen. Those who have yet to prepare or evacuate are setting themselves up for exposure to life-threatening conditions. Many stores are out of bread and water. Evacuation routes are likely to become jammed with outbound traffic. Fuel may not be available in the coming hours.
Please see our nuclear meltdown survival guide if you are planning to ride out Hurricane Florence. (this is not advisable, please follow instructions from local officials).
Author: Jim Satney
PrepForThat’s Editor and lead writer for political, survival, and weather categories.