By John Murawski, Staff Writer
Rail cars on a train carrying spent radioactive nuclear fuel derailed at the Shearon Harris nuclear plant in Wake County Thursday at 6:57 p.m. But the nuclear waste sustained no damage and there were no injuries, according to Progress Energy.
The train accident occurred on the nuclear plant property, about 25 miles southwest of Raleigh.
The train was traveling at about 4 m.p.h. to 5 m.p.h. and remained upright after the accident. Two rail cars jumped the tracks â€” a caboose and an empty flatbed car that was used as a buffer car. When transported by rail, nuclear waste is protected by reinforced concrete casks weighting 75 tons that are designed to withstand high-speed impact.
The cause of the accident was human error in preparing the tracks for the arrival of the train, according to Progress.
The train was transporting spent nuclear fuel from the company’s Brunswick nuclear plant south of Wilmington.
The company alerted local law enforcement and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, as required by law.