Located 20 miles northwest of Charlotte, N.C., McGuire Nuclear Station has served the power needs of the region for more than 30 years. The site sits on the shores of Lake Norman, the state’s largest man-made lake which Duke Energy built in 1963 by damming the Catawba River with Cowans Ford Hydroelectric Station. Named after William Bulgin McGuire, the company’s sixth president, the Westinghouse two-unit pressurized water reactor (PWR) plant provides approximately 2,258 megawatts of electricity. Construction of the plant began in 1971 and took nearly 40 million man-hours at a cost of approximately $2 billion. Unit 1 began commercial operations in 1981, followed by unit 2 in 1984.
The safety and security of the public and employees are the highest priorities at McGuire. This focus is reflected in the several layers of security systems and barriers, the robust construction of the containment structures and the highly-trained security forces. To ensure the public’s safety, McGuire has detailed emergency response plans and conducts routine drills involving plant personnel in coordination with local, state and federal organizations. All residents in the 10-mile radius Emergency Planning Zone (EPZ) receive a calendar with important details and contact information.
McGuire prides itself on operational excellence, continuous improvement and ongoing investments in the facility. Recent enhancements include high pressure turbines on each unit to increase efficiency, a new generator stator, a coolant pump motor replacement and other improvements. Ongoing inspections and assessments ensure the plant is operating efficiently and safely. The site’s success can also be attributed to its more than 1,200 skilled and dedicated employees. McGuire teammates participate in ongoing training and focus on advancing safety initiatives and embracing best-practices. To ensure future workforce needs are met, McGuire and Duke Energy have established partnerships with local schools, universities and community colleges to raise awareness about career opportunities in the nuclear industry.
In addition to providing reliable, affordable and greenhouse gas-free electricity, McGuire is a resource for the community. McGuire’s EnergyExplorium education center offers activities and interactive exhibits to visitors and school groups, as well as a nature trail and picnic shelter. McGuire hosts community events including an annual outdoor concert with the Charlotte Symphony, a Boy Scout encampment, a business networking reception and family carnival. All programs, events and amenities are offered at no cost. McGuire’s employees also actively support outreach efforts. In the past two years, McGuire employees donated approximately $160,000 to the United Way and volunteered at local non-profit organizations.
In addition to being a good neighbor, McGuire Nuclear Station is an economic driver for the region. The site provides valuable jobs, supports growth and contributes to the local tax base which helps build schools and infrastructure. The dollars spent on goods and services by McGuire and its workforce have a tremendous impact on the economy. As Lake Norman celebrates its 50th anniversary, McGuire Nuclear Station and its employees are proud to be a part of the vibrant and dynamic community that continues to develop around the lake.