North Carolina-Nuclear Power-March 10


North Carolina People, Places, and Things-March 10

I am the dad to five adult children. As they were growing up I attempted to remind them they were special and to implore them to learn something new. My goal was to do that daily.

In 2016 my goal is to learn something new daily on the people, places, and things that make North Carolina special.

I have been loving the weather in North Carolina the past week. Evening temperatures drop into the 50’s and daytime highs in the 70’s. Spring is hear and hopefully the days of having to heat the house are behind us until the fall. On the flip side we may be 4-6 weeks away from having to turn on the air conditioner. Whether it is heat or AC it still is energy.

I began to wonder about the rise in solar energy farms in North Carolina and its impact if any on nuclear power.

Photo below dedication of solar farm outside of Fairmont NC.

solar farm fairmont nc

When did North Carolina get its first nuclear power plant? I went researching to learn something new.

Turns out the first Nuclear Power Plant in North Carolina was built in 1975. The two-unit, 1,870-megawatt Brunswick Nuclear Plant is located approximately two miles north of Southport, N.C., and houses two boiling water nuclear reactors.

Photo below is of Brunswick Nuclear Power Plant in Southport NC. It is operated by Duke Energy.

BrunswickNuclearPlant

An additional unit at Brunswick became operational in 1977, and 244 megawatts of electrical generation was added to the plant’s output from 2002 to 2005 as part of an extended power uprate program that upgraded much of the plant’s equipment.

Other North Carolina Nuclear Power plants include McGuire Nuclear Station which is on Lake Norman 15 miles north of Charlotte and Shearon Harris Nuclear Power Plant is located about 20 miles southwest of Raleigh.

McGuire on left and Shearon Harris on right.

Duke Energy operates three other Nuclear Power Plants in South Carolina.

It appears that new nuclear energy plants are not happening in the Carolinas but the ones we have will be with us for a while.

The average age of U.S. commercial reactors is about 35 years. The oldest operating reactors are Oyster Creek in New Jersey, and Nine Mile Point 1 in New York. Both reactors entered commercial service on December 1, 1969. The last newly built reactor to enter service was Tennessee’s Watts Bar 1 in 1996.

Nuclear power supplies some 20 percent of the nation’s electricity.

The question debated by scientists, environmentalists, and business leaders is how long can nuclear reactor provide electricity? The answer seems to be longer than first thought. Many reactors have been given extensions to there 40 year life expectancies.

That is a post for another day. If you want to follow my blog and receive daily updates scroll below and find the follow button that looks like what I have depicted underneath the post.

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