Cooling pond at Duke Energy's H.F. Lee Plant breaks; minimal river impact expected

Source: Duke Energy

A portion of the earthen cooling pond wall at the H.F. Lee Plant in Goldsboro, N.C., experienced a break in the early afternoon today following historic flooding this week from Hurricane Matthew.

The break, approximately 50 to 60 feet wide, is in the southeast corner of the cooling pond. The pond is about 545 acres and does not contain coal ash. The cooling pond is a man-made reservoir that was constructed to supply cooling water to power plants at the site. The active ash basin is not affected by this incident and continues to operate safely.

Based on the current flooded state of the Neuse River, this event is expected to have minimal impact, contributing less than an inch of water to the river. The hurricane brought 15 inches of rain to the area. A photo and aerial diagram are available.

The company is working closely with local emergency management and other officials.

"We are giving this our fullest attention," said Regis Repko, senior vice president of Fossil-Hydro Operations. "We are assessing what resources we need and will position repair materials so we can respond quickly once conditions are safe to do so."

The 920-megawatt natural gas combined cycle plant also continues to operate safely, and the company will evaluate continued plant operations. The energy complex also is home to five natural gas combustion turbines that can provide customers 863 megawatts. The 382-megawatt coal plant was retired in 2012.

As reported previously, flooding has caused the river to flow across three forested, inactive ash basins at the H.F. Lee site. Those basins normally are dry and do not impound water, and they do not pose a risk for a significant release of material.

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