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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The topics of nuclear energy and radiation are still making waves around the world more than a month after Japan’s earthquake and tsunami. Concerned citizens attended a nuclear town hall today to learn more about the threat of a similar situation close to home.

“I want to find out where we are and where we’re going with nuclear power,” Hank Keppel said.

Keppel is not just a concerned citizen. He is also an engineer with lots of nuclear experience. Like many other people, he came to Thursday’s nuclear town hall to get some answers. Keppel is confident that nuclear power is safe and cleaner and less expensive than the alternatives.

“We have never lost a person in nuclear power in our country, and the industry is far more improved than it was when we built our first nuclear power plants,” he said.

Nuclear expert Margaret Harding explained the crisis in Japan and said there is practically no chance that a similar disaster could happen to the Brunswick Nuclear Plant in Southport Harding said hurricanes are more of a threat, but we have more time to prepare for the big storms and shut the plant down before one hits.

Harding said the Brunswick Nuclear Plant and nuclear energy in general are safe. She said we can’t let what happened in Japan influence the way we feel about nuclear plants here.

“If global warming is a reality, and I know that’s a big debate, we could end up under water here, and if we choose to shut down all the nuclear power plants in this country like Germany did, what are you going to replace them with? The likely answer is natural gas or coal, which dump that much more carbon into the air,” Harding said.

She said we shouldn’t be scared of nuclear power or scared to consume products from Japan.

“They are being very very careful in Japan,” Harding said. “We should not be concerned about any imported food products from Japan, and in fact, I would say to support the Japanese people. If you’ve been eating it, keep eating it. Don’t walk away.”

Harding said although we can detect small amounts of radiation from Japan in the air here, it is not dangerous and only means we have advanced measuring instruments.

Comment on this Story

  • Garland Sykes

    The engineer Mr.Keppel & the so called nuclear expert Margaret Harding are talking out of turn. The plant in Southport is the very same design as the plant in Japan. It is true that hurricanes give us time to prepare but if we had a similar disaster here, the result would be the same. All you have to do is look at the location of the Southport plant, it is about 10 to 12 feet above sea leval. Also this area is not immune to earthquakes or even a tsunami. These natural disasters give little or no warning. The general public doesn’t understand that safety in industry does have its limits. Those limits are tied to the dollar & the risk factor. If the cost of the risk is less than the cost of a payout, then you don’t spend the money to make it safer. Utilities are a business just like any other, they are there to make money. The sales pitch may be a little different but the results are the same. Spend the least amount you can to make the most you can and increase the bottom line. The two dummies above have never been in such a disaster and would not know how to react if they were. The media does not do the general public any favors by letting these people ramble on about subjects they are really not qualified to talk about. The media needs to do a better job of reporting both sides of the true story.

    I’m through talking now, as Forest Gump would say, ” I gotta pee “

  • Guest461

    ..about nuclear energy, perhaps you should’ve been the one to educate the public on disaster theory, evaluation and prevention. I COULD assume that since you have the propensity to berate industry experts, that you have acheived your advanced degree in nuclear engineering to include criticality assessment during accident conditions. However, from reading your pitifully constructed post that seems to intentionally degrade professionals and exhibit your paranoia as to how nuclear energy safety studies are conducted and implemented, I can tell that you haven’t achieved that educational milestone and would highy recommend that you and ol’ Forest Gump continue to hang together. Let’s keep IQ’s with IQ’s.

    I can tell you don’t know s**t about s**t, much less ANYTHING relative to nuclear power generation!!! While you’re in that restroom, see if you can’t get it a bit cleaner this time, otherwise you may get demoted.

  • bob

    AS stated above and as a former employee of 25 years for Cp&L and Progress energy this could happen here very easy. An earthquake at Charleston SC could send a tidal wave towards the south facing beaches of the Cape Fear and up the Cape fear river. It could easy travel up the intake canal of only 12 to 17 feet above sea level and wash over the intake. The Plants backup DG power units are very close to the intake and saltwater would easliy overtake the Back up DG units and also there 7 day and 4 day fuel tanks in which are with feet from the intake. The plant is the same design of the plants in Japan..


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