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Carolina Power & Light Company plans to increase the number of spent nuclear fuel-rod assemblies that it stores in containment pools at Wake County's Shearon Harris Nuclear Plant. This would make the plant the country's largest storage facility of this type. The plan has placed the company at odds with eleven local governments and an increasing number of concerned citizens.
Progress Energy plans possible nuclear expansion at Wake County's Shearon Harris Plant, citing the region's growing demand for power. The new reactor could be online by 2016. Opponents point out that the addition of another reactor would magnify general problems, including radioactive pollution from routine emissions, the risk of catastrophic releases caused by accident or sabotage, and the lack of long-term planning for storing spent fuel. Sharon Harris currently houses one of the country's largest stockpiles of spent fuel.
The Catawba Nuclear Station, which is partially owned by North Carolina’s Electric Membership Corporations, passed another milestone July 20 on its way to commercial operation sometime in 1985. The milestone was successful fuel-loading prior to low-power testing. The fuel rods will increase the utility’s ability to generate electricity by sixteen-percent.
Nuclear fuel rods were loaded into the reactor vessel at Unit Number One of Duke Power Company’s William P. McGuire Nuclear Generating Plant at Lake Norman in January. As of mid-April, the company still had not been authorized by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to begin producing power at the facility. Brunswick Nuclear Power Plant near Southport is the only facility in North Carolina currently producing electricity through nuclear fission.