McGuire Nuclear Station

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McGuire Nuclear Station
McGuire Nuclear Station from lake Norman.jpg
McGuire Nuclear Station from Lake Norman
CountryUnited States
LocationMecklenburg County, near Huntersville, North Carolina
Coordinates35°25′57″N 80°56′54″W / 35.43250°N 80.94833°W / 35.43250; -80.94833Coordinates: 35°25′57″N 80°56′54″W / 35.43250°N 80.94833°W / 35.43250; -80.94833
Construction beganApril 1, 1971 (1971-04-01)
Commission dateUnit 1: December 1, 1981
Unit 2: March 1, 1984
Construction cost$4 billion (2007 USD)[1]
Owner(s)Duke Energy
Operator(s)Duke Energy
Nuclear power station
Reactor typePWR
Reactor supplierWestinghouse
Cooling sourceLake Norman
Thermal capacity2 × 3411 MWth
Power generation
Units operational2 × 1158 MW
Make and modelWH 4-loop (ICECND)
Nameplate capacity2316 MW
Capacity factor92.65% (2017)
83.40% (lifetime)
Annual net output18,796 GWh (2017)
External links
WebsiteMcGuire Nuclear Station

The McGuire Nuclear Station is a nuclear power plant located about 17 miles (27 km) northwest of Charlotte, North Carolina, on the state's largest lake, Lake Norman. It is a 32,500-acre (13,200 ha) lake created in 1963 by Duke Power for the Cowans Ford Hydroelectric Station. The McGuire units use the lake's water for cooling.

This plant has two Westinghouse pressurized water reactors and has a capability to produce 2,250 megawatts of net power, with a net generation of 17,514 GW·h in 2005. This represents 44% of the total nuclear power generation for the state of North Carolina.[2]


McGuire Nuclear Station is operated by Duke Power Company and owned by the Duke Energy Corporation. It is named for William McGuire, who served as president of Duke Power from 1959 to 1971.[3]


The original operating licenses' dates of expiration were 2021-06-12 for Unit 1 and 2023-03-03 for Unit 2. In 2003, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) renewed the licenses for both reactors for an additional twenty years.[4]

Surrounding population[edit]

The NRC defines two emergency planning zones around nuclear power plants: a plume exposure pathway zone with a radius of 10 miles (16 km), concerned primarily with exposure to, and inhalation of, airborne radioactive contamination, and an ingestion pathway zone of about 50 miles (80 km), concerned primarily with ingestion of food and liquid contaminated by radioactivity.[5]

The 2010 U.S. population within 10 miles (16 km) of McGuire was 199,869, an increase of 66.8 percent in a decade, according to an analysis of U.S. Census data for The 2010 U.S. population within 50 miles (80 km) was 2,850,782, an increase of 23.3 percent since 2000. Cities within 50 miles include Charlotte (17 miles to city center).[6]

Ice Condensers[edit]

The McGuire Nuclear Station uses ice condensers as part of its emergency containment systems. A nuclear plant ice condenser is a passive, static heat sink that relies on large quantities of ice to mitigate severe accidents. Ice condensers are designed to limit pressure in the event of an accidental steam release. This design allows smaller containment structures and reduced material requirements.[7]

Seismic risk[edit]

The NRC's estimate of the risk each year of an earthquake intense enough to cause core damage to the reactor at McGuire was 1 in 32,258, according to an NRC study published in August 2010.[8][9]

Stator replacement project[edit]

During 2014 McGuire Nuclear Station powered down one of its units to undergo a routine refueling outage, critical to the operation of the plant. This outage was particularly significant because McGuire performed a major evolution – the replacement of a generator stator. The stator is part of the electric generator and is among the largest and heaviest components in the plant, weighing approximately 1.2 million pounds. The work was carried out by Siemens Energy Inc. The lifting contractor was Sarens who used a structural temporary lifting system to remove the existing Stator and install the new Stator. A specialist engineering company named Lowther-Rolton performed a "Technical Audit" of the lifting and installation engineering to ensure safety of operations. Lowther-Rolton were the original developers of the Technical Audit system for load movement operations.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "EIA - State Nuclear Profiles". Retrieved 3 October 2017.
  2. ^ "North Carolina Nuclear Industry". Energy Information Administration, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Retrieved 2008-11-17.
  3. ^ Charlotte Observer article on the death of William McGuire Archived 2012-08-20 at the Library of Congress Web Archives Retrieved August 16, 2012
  4. ^ "NRC Renews Licenses for Catawba and McGuire Nuclear Power Plants for an Additional 20 Years". Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). December 5, 2003. Retrieved 2008-11-17.
  5. ^ "NRC: Backgrounder on Emergency Preparedness for Nuclear Power Plants". Archived from the original on October 2, 2006. Retrieved March 14, 2012.
  6. ^ Bill Dedman, Nuclear neighbors: Population rises near US reactors, NBC News, April 14, 2011 Accessed May 1, 2011.
  7. ^ "Maintaining Nuclear Plant Ice Condensers: A 'Cool' Responsibility". June 2018.
  8. ^ Bill Dedman, "What are the odds? US nuke plants ranked by quake risk," NBC News, March 17, 2011 Accessed April 19, 2011.
  9. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-05-25. Retrieved 2011-04-19.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^

External links[edit]