Local News

Fire puts Shearon Harris on alert; no materials leaked

Posted January 18, 2014
Updated January 19, 2014

— Shearon Harris Nuclear Plant was put on alert Saturday morning after a fire in plant electrical equipment, officials said.

Smoke was detected at about 10:15 a.m., and operators safely shut down the plant before on-site fire crews responded. No flames were detected.

According to Duke Energy spokesperson, Jeff Brooks, the fire was caused by a transformer that overheated. 

No radioactive materials were released, and the plant was in stable condition Saturday afternoon, officials said. The alert ended at 3:51 p.m. 

"This morning Duke Energy notified the emergency management agencies for the state and four counties within close proximity to the Harris nuclear plant of an equipment malfunction," state Department of Public Safety Secretary Frank Perry said in a statement. "It is important to know that there is no risk to public health or safety, nor is any expected."

Employees at the New Hill nuclear plant are staffing emergency response facilities, and officials said they are coordinating with federal, state and local officials to resolve the situation and protect the public.

An alert is the second of four emergency classifications, used to describe conditions that require emergency response agencies to be in a heightened state of readiness but pose no threat to public safety.

"While the situation never posed a threat to public safety, it has provided our emergency response team with a valuable opportunity to test and coordinate our plans and procedures for a real event," Perry said. "The swift and coordinated response among all agencies involved demonstrates that North Carolina has a seasoned emergency management team that stands ready to protect the public."

"We expect to conduct an investigation into the cause of this incident and once any repairs are made that are necessary, we will return the plant to service," said Brooks.

The last time Shearon Harris was taken off line was in November when an ultrasound revealed a flaw at Harris' nuclear reactor. 

Shearon Harris opened in 1987 and provides power to about 550,000 customers.


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  • sionanatkins Jan 20, 2014

    I guess they dont have to get it exactly right.

  • sinenomine Jan 20, 2014

    I wouldn't worry if I were you. Shearon Harris has got to be at LEAST as far from Raleigh as Kiev is from, say, Chernobyl.

  • JenniWest Jan 20, 2014

    Big thanks to all the workers who keep us safe, warm and powered up.

  • Obamacare prevails again Jan 20, 2014

    View quoted thread

    Yep, that's beacuse Duke pockets all of the rate increase $$'s to line the pockets of executives rather than using the extra $$ to maintain the current infrastructure.

    The fleecing of America, brought to you by Duke Energy.

  • Vote for Pedro Jan 20, 2014

    Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain, everything's under control.

  • Inside The Beltline Jan 20, 2014

    Does it seem like there have been a lot of "incidents" at Shearon Harris since Duke took over management? I lived in Western NC for years and things like this were usual at the Oconee plant in upstate SC.

  • SeaDog Jan 20, 2014

    So this is what, the third "incident" at Shearon Harris in the last 6 months (that we know about)?

  • martin6 Jan 20, 2014

    By "shut down" - I presume they mean SCRAM'd with control rods fully inserted to block the nuclear reaction. Fuukushima did the same with their reactors. But due to failure in the coolant water pumps it only took 3x days after being "shut down" for them to blow up.
    Fuukushima proved Nuclear Power is uncontrollable. Scientists/engineers are at a loss and can not stop that catastrophe from worsening. The older reactors in the world get - the risks for more fuukushima increases.