U.S. nuclear power plants prepare for Hurricane Florence

Sept 11 (Reuters) - Several nuclear power reactors in North and South Carolina and Virginia on Tuesday started to prepare for Hurricane Florence, which is expected to hit the coast as a major hurricane on Friday. The storm threatened to make landfall with massive waves and winds of up to 130 mile per hour (209 km per hour), making it a Category 3 or 4 storm on a five-step scale, the National Hurricane Center in Miami warned. There are 16 nuclear reactors in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia, the states expected to suffer the most damage from Florence. Florence will most likely affect Duke Energy Corp's 1,870-megawatt (MW) Brunswick and 932-MW Harris nuclear plants in North Carolina and, if it turns north, Dominion Energy Inc's 1,676-MW Surry plant in Virginia, Roger Hannah, spokesman for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC) Region 2 office in Atlanta said on Tuesday. One megawatt can power about 1,000 U.S. homes. Duke said it could take days to several weeks to restore power to all customers after a storm like Florence depending on the extent of damage and post-storm conditions. "We anticipate Hurricane Florence to be a historic storm that will impact all customers," said Grace Rountree, a spokeswoman for the company. Duke serves 4 million customers in the Carolinas. To prepare for the storm, nuclear operators check on backup diesel generators to make sure they have enough fuel, conduct site walk downs and secure any loose equipment that could become a projectile in the wind, said Hannah at the NRC. "Most of the plants have gone through or are going through their pre-storm preparations now," Hannah said. About 12 hours before the hurricane arrives, the reactors at the nuclear plants will be shut down, Hannah said.

Plant Size (MW) State Owner Brunswick 1 938 NC Duke Brunswick 2 932 NC Duke Catawba 1 1160 NC Duke Catawba 2 1150 NC Duke McGuire 1 1158 NC Duke McGuire 2 1158 NC Duke Harris 932 NC Duke Oconee 1 847 SC Duke Oconee 2 848 SC Duke Oconee 3 859 SC Duke Robinson 2 741 SC Duke Summer 971 SC Scana North Anna 1 948 VA Dominion North Anna 2 944 VA Dominion Surry 1 838 VA Dominion Surry 2 838 VA Dominion

(Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)