Local News

Officials cancel alert at Shearon Harris; no materials leaked

Posted August 8, 2013

— 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. 


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  • simplelogic Aug 8, 2013

    "And how is it I only found out about the "alert" after it had been cancelled?"

    Conversation between SH and NRC: "Should we cancel the alert? Everything's under control and there's no danger." "I don't know - senex hasn't checked the news yet. Better hold off."


  • Obamacare saves lives Aug 8, 2013

    wattsun, please stop trying to scare everyone. We're going to be just fine.

  • wattsun Aug 8, 2013

    Keep making jokes and stick your heads back in the sand
    The public better wake up and realize how dangerous this plant really is.
    Especially with regards to the shortcut of storing all the spent fuel rods from 3 different nuclear plants in cooling pools.
    SH is going to bite us all in the Rear one day and half of NC will become a wasteland!

  • wattsun Aug 8, 2013


    The licensee reported that there was an explosion in a non-safety related electrical bus (Bus 1E2). The bus is designated as a safe shut down bus. The licensee has classified this event as an Alert based on an EAL entry condition of "an explosion of sufficient force to damage permanent structures or equipment within the Protected Area." The licensee is still investigating what loads come off this bus but no safety-related loads have been identified at this time. The plant is currently stable at 92% power. Power was reduced due to the loss of moisture separator reheaters on the secondary side as a result of this event. There is no ongoing fire as a result of the bus explosion. No personnel were injured. No damage to other equipment has been identified at this time.

    The licensee has notified state and local authorities and the NRC Resident Inspector.


  • heard-it-all-before Aug 8, 2013

    NEWSFLASH: harris power plant had a light bulb burn out! everybody panic! run for your lives!

  • senex Aug 8, 2013

    How is it, the "safest" plant in American has the highest number of infractions and alerts?

    And how is it I only found out about the "alert" after it had been cancelled? Never heard of the 4 cracks last year until THIS year's crack was found.

    You can't hide the fact you shut down and aren't producing a cloud. There needs to be more PRESS involvement in publishing these things AS they happen, not after the fact when they are concluded.

    Why is that?

  • Obamacare saves lives Aug 8, 2013

    DanickaFae, what in the world do you have against bananas?

  • injameswetrust2003 Aug 8, 2013

    Everything is fine at Harris. The plant is safe. You're safe. Everyone who works at the plant is safe.

    Are you an employee of Duke Energy? I bet the CPC (chernobyl power co.) said the same thing.

  • Obamacare saves lives Aug 8, 2013

    I expect the news to inform us the next time a toilet seat cracks at the nuke reactor.

  • simplelogic Aug 8, 2013

    "So a vending machine could be broken and this makes the "news"?"

    Would you prefer that they don't cover a potential emergency at a nuclear power plant? This wasn't a vending machine - it was a component of the safe shutdown procedure. Things were brought under control very quickly, and there was never any danger, but the public has every right to be informed about the situation.