Nuclear power back after wildfire
North Carolina’s oldest nuclear reactor was back at full power by lunch time Thursday after a day and a half of reduced power due a wildfire near Bolivia.
The Clemmons Road Fire was first reported about 1:30 Tuesday afternoon just outside the 10-mile emergency notification area of Duke Energy’s Brunswick Nuclear Plant. A few hours later, the wildfire was out of control.
Brunswick Nuclear Unit 2 power was reduced to 86% late Tuesday when a 230 kilovolt transmission line passing through the fire area faulted out, Brunswick Nuclear spokeswoman Karen Williams said Thursday.
The line which connects the Southport power plant to Whiteville is the furthest west of eight 230 kV lines distributing electricity generated at Brunswick Nuclear.
Unit 1 continued to operate at 100% throughout the fire, Duke Energy told the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
The problem causing the fault was isolated and service was re-established, Williams said, adding “this caused a disruption at the connector for Brunswick EMC.”
The co-op said this left about 50,000 customers without power until about 1:30 Wednesday morning.
The fire damaged two structures supporting the Whiteville 230Kv line, Williams said.
“As of (Thursday) morning, all is normal. All structures in the vicinity of the fire have been reviewed and returned to service, she said, explaining Unit 2’s return to full, 932-megawatts power.
In the afternoon, an NC Forest Service official told reporters the 1,540-acre wildfire was 70% contained and all roads in the vicinity of the fire had reopened.
So far there have been no injuries reported from the fire, said Chris Meggs, a forest service information officer.
The only two buildings damaged were small, vacant structures -- "something to get out of the rain," he said, adding the cause of the fire is still under investigation.
The fire is located about 40 miles northwest of Myrtle Beach SC and 20 miles southwest of Wilmington NC.-- Jim Brumm