WADSWORTH, Texas – A nuclear power facility located 10 miles off the Texas Gulf Coast will not shut down as Hurricane Harvey prepares to make landfall near Corpus Christi.
The two-unit South Texas Project (STP) nuclear power facility is roughly 100 miles northwest of Corpus Christi, where Harvey is expected to make landfall. The facility resides in Matagorda County, which is under a mandatory evacuation order, but STP officials said about 175 employees will man the facility 24/7 until the storm has passed.
“At STP, the safety of our employees and neighbors in the local communities is our primary responsibility,” STP President and CEO Dennis Koehl said in a statement. “Our team has done an outstanding job preparing for this storm. Our continued commitment and focus is to put safety first in every action we take.”
GULF WATCH: Hurricane Harvey is now a Category 4 storm
Hurricane Harvey has strengthened to a Category 4 storm. It’s expected to make landfall Friday night into Saturday morning with maximum sustained winds of 130 mph. It will weaken once it makes landfall but areas throughout Southeast Texas could see strong winds and upwards of 40 inches in areas.
The facility is designed to withstand strong storms, officials said, with steel-reinforced concrete walls that are four- to seven-feet thick that protect the buildings that house reactors, vital equipment and used fuel. The buildings are designed to withstand major hurricanes and tornadoes, officials said, adding that all buildings are able to withstand flooding. If sustained winds exceed 73 mph, officials said they will take steps to shut down the units.
STP powers more than two million homes throughout Texas.