Local News

Neighbors sound off on Shearon Harris expansion plans

Posted June 10, 2008
Updated June 11, 2008

— Progress Energy customers and Wake County neighbors of the Shearon Harris nuclear power plant have the opportunity to speak out Tuesday about the proposal to expand the plant.

Dozens of people turned out at a public meeting Tuesday afternoon to discuss the environmental impact of a new reactor. Another meeting was scheduled for 6 p.m. at the Holly Springs Cultural Center at 300 W. Ballentine St.

Progress Energy officials said a growing customer base and a higher demand for power justify the expansion. The company expects to add 500,000 customers in the next 20 years.

Wake County leaders are on record in support of the plan. The school district approves. "Electricity is an infastructure that we need," Joe Bryan, chairman of the county Board of Commissioners, said.

Opponents say they need a closer look.

"We really need our elected officials to provide scrutiny for these type of projects," cautioned Jim Warren, head of the watchdog group N.C. Warn.

At Tuesday's meeting, residents cited the recent drought. "Where will you get the water to cool the reactors?" Jane Smith, a member of the Lee County Environmental Affairs Board, wanted to know.

A Holly Springs councilman asked about an evacuation plan. "There is a fear amoung citizens that should there be an emergency that inadequate roads will become gridlocked," he said.

The plant was originally planned to support four nuclear reactors, but only one was built.

The Harris site offers a large amount of available land -- approximately 35 square miles -- and has an ample water supply, Progress Energy said.

A final decision on whether to build the $2 to $3 billion reactor is still years away and will depend not only on public support, but on regulatory approval, predictions of energy demand and economic conditions, Progress officials said.

A new plant could be online as early as 2018 if the Nuclear Regluatory Commission approves.

North Carolina gets 32 percent of its power from five nuclear sites, 20 percent of which is supplied by Shearon Harris. Progress Energy has two other reactors in Brunswick County and Charlotte-based Duke Power has two reactors in Cornelius, north or Charlotte.

Nationwide, 20 percent of electricity comes from 103 commercial nuclear reactors operating in 31 states.


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  • NC is my home Jun 13, 2008

    In the 70's CP&L came to the area saying that they needed all the land. They took most everybodys' property by eminent domain. Many of the acres they took they never used for the plant. They put up parks, etc in honor of their crooked selves! NO WE DON'T WANT ANYMORE OF CP&L, PROGRESS ENERGY, OR THE REST OF THEM. They need some accountability for what they're already taken & should return + interest what they took & didn't use for the plant!

  • haggis basher Jun 11, 2008

    Build them both, now. If Nevada won't let them build Yucca mountain then we should should build better waste storage in NC. It does not have to to the level of Yucca, just somewhere more secure than a pond at SH.

  • Southern Fried Yankee Jun 11, 2008

    You have a real choice in central electrical generation--- coal, oil, gas, or nuclear.

    Wind and solar, at best, are small scale and not all that reliable.

    Coal is filthy and spews out everything from arsenic and cadmium to mercury and even some radioactive products....I know, I've worked with power generation for 3 decades. Oil is a bit pricy these days. Gas is the best choice in fossil fuels but it's piped for hundreds of miles to get here.

    Nuclear seems to be the most viable solution.

    Of course, we COULD decide to live like the Amish.....You try it first. Get back with me in about 10 years on how that's going for you.

  • discowhale Jun 11, 2008

    Man is there a ton of misinformation in this thread.

    jackadoo is right about the cost increases at SH Unit 1, what he fails to say is that there is never a construction project, bigger than a dog house, that doesn't go over budget.

    Harris Lake was designed to support 4 (four) reactors, it's big enough.

    We WILL have rolling brown outs at an increasing rate, nationwide, both sides in this power production issue agree on that FACT. They only differ on the solution.

    Evacuation Routes have been taken into consideration with every new development permit the county issues.

    EVERY utility company in the country has a virtual monopoly in their service area, P/E is no different than Duke or ConEd in that respect.

    Central NC is NOT suited to large scale solar or wind power. Small scale and individual systems with back-up generators are the best bet, build one.

    jackadoo is one of the people who took the pay check from CP&L, who now has negative things to say about SH. Seems hypocr1t1cal!

  • likemenow Jun 10, 2008

    RE:"Uh, Lloyd, who exactly would build and operate the wind or solar generators? Who has square mile after square mile of land to build those generators? Who has the power infrastructure to get the power to the customers? Seems to me that even if we went to wind or solar, we are still most likely gonna be padding the pockets of Progress Energy" Please look into Solargenix (solargenix.com} and/or Acciona Energy for all your answers.

  • iwinthisthread Jun 10, 2008

    I don't get who is going to be looking at those options? The free market will decide. Those venture capitalist you speak of are indeed looking at the problem and as soon as they figure out how to make their profit, you'll get your solution.

    PE / Sharon Harris is regulated and scrutinized, and even though organizations like nc warn can be a little blow hardish and annoying at times, I'm glad they are there making sure that PE really doesn't get away with murder.

  • Lloyd Christmas Jun 10, 2008

    I believe it could be attainable through smaller companies with Ventura capitalist backing. I just have a serious issue with PE doing it, as do others. They already pretty much control the energy market as it is and we are at their disposal. I also think with enough smart minds in this world we come come up with more scalable options than 40ft towers and not one would be needed in every yard. I just think we should look at all options before giving in to a monopolized corporation like PE

  • Travised Jun 10, 2008

    The local meeting was just a public meet and greet. They have to deal with planning and zoning, county, state, NRC (federal level) and those are just a FEW of the ones before they are granted approval. They need funding as well.

    Or you can be one of the people that pay 2400/month electrical and gas for your house and claim the sky is falling, the ice is melting... see link... and do nothing to help conserve.


    Why protest to a Nuke. If you want to have your AC running and power in your office compared to rolling blackouts we need more on a national level. The national power grid is stressed out more that most know. Any major drains that are unprepared for can cause havoc is there are not areas to siphon power off from for supply to be transferred from. Look at LA's annual rolling summer blackouts for example.

  • bomanicous Jun 10, 2008

    'We have a serious energy problem and we can no longer afford to be hijacked by a bunch of environmental wackos in their Volvos from Chapel Hill.'

    I agree except i don't have anything against volvos. I really don't care what other people drive and I don't expect them to B*#tch about my truck.

    BTW...I don't care about stupid bumper stickers either, bring on nuclear energy!!!

  • bs101fly Jun 10, 2008

    build those stacks and send the NC Warns idiots away! I'm all for being safe, but I can't afford $800+ monthly utility bills!!!

    Or $4/gallon flippin' gas!!!!

    Where IS our lame duck government? Maybe when Obama takes office he can get the $200K+ crowd to foot our bills! I'm ALL for that, JUST because I know it makes them mad!

    Boo Hoo!!