New Hill, N.C. — Officials at Shearon Harris Nuclear Plant canceled an alert Thursday morning about two hours after an equipment malfunction resulted in the loss of power to non-safety related electrical equipment.
Duke Energy issued its alert at 3 a.m. and said in a statement that no radioactive materials were released due to the equipment failure. The alert was canceled about 5:30 a.m.
A company spokesperson told WRAL News the malfunction happened in the part of the plant that distributes produced power and that the plant was operating at about 91 percent following the alert.
Employees inspected the facility after the power loss, determining that there was no threat to operating the plant.
"The operators noticed there was smoke, and there was some damage to an electrical panel box similar to an electric breaker box you would have in your home," Kim Crawford, a Shearon Harris spokeswoman, said. "No one should be worried, the plant is stable."
An alert is the second in increasing significance of four emergency classifications. It is used to describe conditions that require emergency response agencies to be in a heightened state of readiness, but pose not threat to public safety.
"The operators are required to follow certain procedures, and they noted there was some smoke coming out of this panel box," Crawford said.
In May, a quarter-inch crack in a reactor sensor forced Duke Energy to take the plant offline. No radioactive material leaked from the plant, and public health and safety was never in danger, company officials said. Crawford said Thursday that the two incidents were not related.
Located in New Hill, Shearon Harris provides power to about 550,000 customers. It opened in 1987.