Power outages from Hurricane Florence, which made landfall Friday morning in North Carolina and SC, have topped 945,000 customers.
The electricity provider says it began powering down one reactor early Thursday and would start shutting the second reactor later in the day.
The two reactors at the site, which entered service in 1975 and 1977, are of similar design to some of the reactors damaged at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan after an quake and tsunami in 2011.
Duke Energy meteorologists are estimating power outages in the Carolinas from Hurricane Florence could be between one and three million customers, the company said yesterday, with power restoration work potentially taking weeks.
Duke Energy did not provide information about specific changes made at Brunswick, other than to say emergency generators and pumps will remove stormwater if the plant floods.
President Trump declared states of emergency for North and SC and Virginia, opening the way for federal aid. Procedures require operators to shut down plants well before hurricane-force winds arrive on site.
Florence is now a Category 2 storm with maximum sustained winds of 110 miles per hour (177 kph), according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC).
They also have prepared their backup diesel generators to make sure the plants have enough fuel to keep producing power.
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At 2 a.m., the storm was centered 625 miles (1,005 km) southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina, moving at 17 mph (28 kph). On Thursday morning, South 17th Street, usually teeming with commuter traffic by 6:30 a.m., was almost devoid of cars.
Hurricane Florence forces grocery store closings
A fourth person reportedly was killed while plugging in a generator in the state's Lenoir County, according to USA media. Roy Cooper said Friday that Florence is "wreaking havoc" and he's concerned "whole communities" could be wiped away.
This is according to data as of 5 a.m. EST from tweets North and SC emergency management agencies.
In a call with reporters on Wednesday, Duke officials said a decision on whether to close the Brunswick plant had not been made.
Diaz said he did not think there would be issues with the power plants in the upcoming storms. The Robinson plant responded to a temporary loss of off-site power by shutting down safely.
He told Reuters on Tuesday that both power plants are bracing themselves for the hurricane by sweeping the site for any loose material that could get ripped off by high winds.
Since Fukushima, all US reactors have been upgraded with additional safety equipment, including portable pumps and generators to keep cooling water circulating through the reactor in case the plant loses offsite power.
"This rainfall would produce catastrophic flash flooding and significant river flooding", the National Hurricane Center said Wednesday in its 11 a.m. ET advisory.
In addition to all of this, the spread of pig manure into flood waters is also a concern.