This week, Duke Energy celebrates the 40th anniversary of Brunswick Nuclear Power Plant, the first nuclear plant built in North Carolina. Unit 2, which is actually the site’s first reactor to become active, started running on Nov. 3, 1975 and unit 1 in 1977. Currently it is licensed to operate until 2034.
Brunswick is located north of Southport, NC and contains 2 GE boiling water reactors, which are cooled by water collected from the Cape Fear River and discharged into the Atlantic Ocean. The combined generating capacity of the 2 units 1,875 MW, enough electricity to power more than 1 million homes.
244 MW of electrical generation was added to the plant’s output from 2002 to 2005 as part of an extended power uprate program that upgraded much of the plant’s equipment. Most recently they have taken on projects such as putting coating pipes inside the reactor making the easier for future generations to operate it.
The power plant helped put Southport on the map, said Robert Howard, Southport’s mayor, who said it helped keep Brunswick County natives in the area with high-paying jobs, indirectly contributed to the area’s tourism industry and helped foster the county’s real estate market.
“It’s been a good relationship” he said. “It’s been a good economic engine for us.”