Local News

Harris Nuclear Plant Turns 20

Posted May 2, 2007

— On May 2, 1987, the Shearon Harris Nuclear Plant began feeding power into the electric grid.

At the time, 16,000 people lived within 10 miles of plant. Twenty years later, 60,000 people are neighbors. The plant serves 500,000 homes and businesses and has produced more than 130 million megawatt-hours of electricity over the last two decades, according to Progress Energy, which now refers to the plant as simply Harris.

The company, the successor to Carolina Power & Light, which opened Shearon Harris, said almost half of the workers at the plant have been there since it opened.


Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • dogluver May 3, 2007

    "happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday sharon harris, happy birthday to you"

  • none ya biz May 3, 2007

    that is the dumbest thing ive ever heard.

  • wrightjim May 2, 2007

    When you say that nuclear power is safe, just remember that they are built by humans...when I was a kid (early 80s), we rented a house to a construction worker who had led a pretty wild life (but was then a born-again christian). He told me that during the building of shearon harris, the best place to buy drugs in wake county was the parking lot there. The thought of that makes me glad I live in northern wake county.

  • gothboy54 May 2, 2007

    working on a sub is way differ then on land ur surrounded by water terrorists can easily attack nuclear stations or something can go wrong but hey u never no and we hardly used nuclear power (besides submarines) up intill now

  • yo eleven May 2, 2007

    Worked for Daniels Constr., the gen contractor for Harris for 7 years from the "hole" stages through SIT/ILRT and before fueling. Backup systems on backup systems, ad nauseum. participated in building then tearing down and moving many of those systems. We speculated that 3 mile Island drove Ebasco to over-engineer the plant.Never seen any meatier steel or concrete before or since. I used an entire 2500' bottle of oxygen on one pass torch-cutting a 6" thick slab of A-36 steel plate. Parts and pieces of huge proportions went in the plant. Saw the entire dome for the containment building set in place from the 261' ground level to top. 320 tons I believe. Very cool to see. BTW, happy birthday Harris!

  • blu-burd May 2, 2007

    Go for it.If nuclear does'nt do it pollution will.

  • Travised May 2, 2007

    Wonder if PAR ever helped on the construction or service of Harris... Back in the day they did service and repair on Nukes all over the US and even overseas in a couple of rare cases. (don't ask, don't tell) I have too many connections with too many industries.

  • Doctor Dataclerk May 2, 2007

    It is absolutely the best alternative out there currently. Until we successfully harness the engergy of the sun, build more nukes now, not later.

  • SaveEnergyMan May 2, 2007

    Nuclear power will remain "safe" (always a relative term) as long as we maintain a healthy respect for consequences. We lost our innocence with Three Mile Island. NCWARN and others represent the fear mongers, but we have to have them to keep reminding the rest of us that the proverbial 2 ton gorilla is walking around the room and to keep an eye on things.

    As for waste, address the real problem - why we don't use breeder reactors. The French do and they produce much smaller quantities of waste. The problem is that they also produce weapons grade material.

    As for security, the containment area is built to withstand a 747 attacking 9/11 style (they thought of that 30+ years ago). There are backups to backups to backups. As long as we have people who stay up at night thinking about ways security can be compromised and then fixing the problems, we're likely pretty safe. Nothing is for free and nothing is totally safe.

  • GoBlue May 2, 2007

    Believe it or not a coal power plant gives off more radiation than a nuclear plant. Additionally, terroist could attack a coal plant or a gas reclaimation plant and cause an explosion that would be just as devastating as an attack on a nuclear plant. However, nuke plants have a lot better security and safe guards.