Alert ends at NC nuclear plant where fire occurred

Associated Press

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NEW HILL — No radioactive materials were released when a fire broke out Saturday in electrical equipment at Harris Nuclear Plant, said officials, adding that there was never a threat to public safety.

An alert was declared Saturday morning, and operators shut down the plant, said Duke Energy officials. Smoke was seen, although no visible flames were detected. The alert ended Saturday afternoon.

The plant remained shut down after the alert ended although in stable condition. Officials say the plant will return to full power when the equipment is restored.

“It is important to know that there is no risk to public health or safety, nor is any expected,” state Public Safety Secretary Frank Perry said in a news release.

An alert is the second in increasing severity of four nuclear emergency classifications. This classification is used to describe conditions that require emergency response agencies to be in a heightened state of readiness but pose no threat to public safety.

Wake, Chatham, Harnett and Lee counties and North Carolina Emergency Management staffed their respective emergency operations centers to monitor the situation and coordinate any needed response, Perry said.

Duke Energy and the North Carolina Eastern Municipal Power Agency own the plant. The single-unit power plant began commercial operation in 1987.