Storm floods breached coal-ash pit, isolated Duke nuclear plant

Duke Energy Corp. grappled with deadly Hurricane Florence's aftereffects as a breach in a coal-ash landfill worsened and its Brunswick nuclear plant declared a low-level emergency because of flooding.

Photo: Ritzau/AP/David J. Phillip

While the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission declared an "unusual event" this weekend at the atomic plant on North Carolina's soaked southern coast due to "site access issues," it said there were no safety concerns. Roads around the plant were largely impassable and that supplies were being flown in to stranded workers, according to an engineer.

About 30 miles to the north, a Duke landfill in Wilmington holding potentially toxic coal ash suffered further damage, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Duke said about 2,000 cubic yards of coal ash flowed from its Sutton Plant near the Cape Fear river. While the EPA called it a second breach, the company said it's all part of the same "erosion event."

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