Brunswick Power Plant, Southport, North Carolina
The Brunswick Power Plant is a nuclear power generating station located near Southport, North Carolina. It is operated by Progress Energy, and ownership is divided between Progress Energy and the North Carolina Eastern Municipal Power Agency. It has two reactors, one of which went online in 1975, and the other in 1977.
The Brunswick Nuclear Power Plant has a large campus, covering about 1,200 acres. It is located near wetlands and an agricultural area. The plant uses water from nearby Cape Fear River as a coolant in its operations. Used water from the plant is discharged into the Atlantic Ocean.
The Environmental Impact of Nuclear Power
Proponents of nuclear power claim it is a relatively clean source of energy. Unlike fossil fuels, which release greenhouse gases and other pollutants when burned, nuclear power plants have very low emission rates. However, these plants do have disadvantages.
One issue that makes nuclear power controversial is the potential danger of working with radioactive material. Nuclear plants use enriched uranium to heat water, then use the steam produced to power turbines that generate electricity. Any design flaw or human error can cause the release of radioactive materials into the air, soil, or water. In addition, nuclear waste is dangerous and must be carefully disposed of.
Other potential health problems may be present in the construction of the plants. Many nuclear plants in the US were built prior to 1987, when important safety regulations concerning asbestos were put into place. As a result, many older power plants were likely made with asbestos, a mineral that has been linked to mesothelioma and other diseases. If you have worked in a power plant of any kind, you need to be aware of this potential risk.