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Nuclear Power Plants

Safety and Security

Safety and security are the highest priority at all Duke Energy-operated nuclear power plants. Our nuclear plants were designed with redundant and diverse safety systems to ensure the safe, secure operation of the stations every day.

Nuclear Safety

Nuclear plants are built to withstand a wide variety of external forces, including hurricanes, tornadoes, fires, floods and earthquakes. For example, nuclear plants are constructed to withstand earthquakes of the magnitude equivalent to or greater than the largest known earthquake for the region where they are located.
Containment buildings that house nuclear reactors are very robust – many times stronger than office buildings and skyscrapers. Nuclear plants also have numerous and diverse safety systems and physical barriers to protect the public, plant workers and the environment in the unlikely event of an emergency. Additionally, the U.S. nuclear industry is heavily regulated by strict operational guidelines from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

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Nuclear Security

Nuclear stations have numerous security features, both visible and unseen. These include being guarded 24 hours a day by armed, well-trained security forces; physical intrusion barriers; and advanced surveillance equipment, which continually monitors the areas surrounding the plant.
Although we cannot discuss specific security measures, we can share general information. Plant access is tightly controlled by both security forces and sophisticated security devices, such as palm recognition screening, and weapons and explosives detectors. Nuclear employees must pass stringent background investigations, psychological evaluations, and drug and alcohol screenings. Employees and contractors are also subject to continual monitoring and screening.
Our nuclear security programs are evaluated for effectiveness on a regular basis by both the company and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). Duke Energy nuclear plants meet all requirements set forth by the NRC and have performed well during security drills and tests. The company’s security training programs and facilities are among the best in the industry. We also work closely with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, federal security agencies and the intelligence community.

What do I do in an emergency?

We always expect our nuclear stations to operate safely, but in the unlikely event of a nuclear station emergency, we want you to be prepared. The states, counties and Duke Energy have developed plans for handling emergencies. These plans are closely coordinated and well-practiced, and are designed to protect you. To keep the public informed, neighbors who live within 10 miles of the station receive emergency planning information annually in a calendar mailed to their homes. In the event of a nuclear emergency, the public would be advised to tune to a local emergency alert station for further instructions and information.