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Duke's two Brunswick nuclear units in North Carolina return to service after hurricane

Washington — Both nuclear units at Duke Energy's 1,978-MW Brunswick plant near Wilmington, North Carolina, returned to service over the weekend after shutting for a week during Hurricane Florence, the company said Monday.

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The unit was in the path of the hurricane and shut preventively before the storm made landfall near Wilmington September 14.

The company had said in the days after the storm hit that workers had limited access the site because of area road flooding.

The access issue was not a safety concern, because two shifts of workers are onsite, and the utility stocked food and water supplies at the plant in advance of the arrival of Hurricane Florence Friday, US Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokesman Roger Hannah said in an interview September 17.

The 980-MW Brunswick-2 restarted Thursday and was at 90% of capacity early Monday, the NRC said in its daily reactor status reports. The adjacent Brunswick-1, with a capacity of 998 MW, connected to the grid after Saturday and was at nearly 70% of capacity Monday morning, Duke spokeswoman Karen Williams said in an email.

The site itself did not experience flooding and shut only as a precaution as required for all US nuclear plants when hurricane-force winds are forecast, Duke officials said.

Brunswick was the only US nuclear plant to see an impact on its operations from the storm. Other units in the path of the storm in North and South Carolina continued to operate at 100% of capacity throughout the event, although some subsequently shut for refueling and maintenance as scheduled. -- William Freebairn,

-- Edited by Derek Sands,