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McGuire Nuclear Station Information

McGuire Nuclear Station is located on Lake Norman in Mecklenburg County, N.C. Lake Norman — the state’s largest man-made lake — was built by Duke Energy in 1963 by damming the Catawba River with Cowans Ford Hydroelectric Station. The lake provides cooling water for both McGuire Nuclear Station and Marshall Steam Station. Unit 1 at McGuire Nuclear Station began commercial operation in 1981, followed by unit 2 in 1984. Duke Energy nuclear power plants operate at a very high level of security every day. McGuire was designed and built with redundant safety systems and multiple barriers to protect the public, plant workers and the environment.


There are several ways you could be notified of a problem at McGuire Nuclear Station:

  • To alert people outdoors, county officials will sound sirens around the station. Sirens will sound repeatedly in an emergency. If you hear a siren, turn on your radio or television immediately. Tune to a local station that will carry an emergency information message. These stations will give you information and tell you what to do. The sirens may be used to warn local residents of any type of emergency, such as a flood or severe storm. HEARING A SIREN DOES NOT MEAN YOU SHOULD EVACUATE.
  • To alert people indoors, radio and television stations will carry emergency information messages. Follow the instructions. Stay tuned.
  • In an emergency, fire, police and rescue units may also patrol the affected area and sound their sirens, if necessary. Boaters also would be alerted.

Upon hearing a siren or emergency message, we also encourage people living in the 10-mile emergency planning zones to check with their neighbors to ensure they are aware of the situations – especially neighbors who may have special needs. In case of a problem, you will be provided specific instructions based on your location. Follow the instructions given on the radio or television.


Schools in the area around McGuire Nuclear Station have emergency plans for school children.

  • In an emergency, school officials would be contacted by county emergency management officials.
  • If an evacuation were ordered, all children attending school inside the 10-mile Emergency Planning Zone (EPZ) would be moved to the reception center for their school. This may be different from the reception center listed for the student’s home.
  • Parents should pick up students at the reception center only. Do not call or go to the schools. This will help avoid delays. All reception centers are more than 10 miles from the station.
  • Adults would care for the children until parents arrive at the reception center.
  • It is important for parents to know in what zones their children’s schools are located. To find out, locate the correct zone on the map (pdf, 966 KB) for your children’s schools. Parents should familiarize themselves with the reception centers (pdf, 114 KB) for their children’s schools.

If your children are ever left home alone, you should tell them what to do in an emergency. Be sure they know what zone they are in.


In the event of an emergency, tune to a Primary Emergency Alert Station. The local primary stations state and county officials would use to provide McGuire neighbors with emergency information and instructions are:

  • FM 107.9 WLNK Charlotte
  • FM 106.5 WEND Salisbury
  • NOAA Weather Radio - All Hazards

Other local radio and television stations may also carry the emergency information message.

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