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ONLY ON 3: Brunswick Nuclear Plant to blame for deaths of endangered sea turtles

SOUTHPORT, NC (WWAY) — Three endangered sea turtles died recently near the Brunswick Nuclear Plant in Southport. The turtles died after getting into the canal that provides cooling water for plant operations.

The Brunswick Nuclear Plant is not far from the Atlantic Ocean. At times, migrating sea turtles make their way onto the property. This time, it had deadly consequences.

“It’s the filtration racks that are designed to block trash from getting into the cooling water, but sometimes they catch turtles, fish or other wildlife, and this is an example of one where an endangered sea turtle was actually killed,” said Tom Clements of the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability.

The plant found not one, but three green sea turtles dead in the intake canal last week. Clements learned about the first death via an e-mail from the plant on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s website.

“Some of these things don’t reach the public unless you go searching for them,” he said.

Clements hopes the death of the sea turtle will lead to some changes at the Brunswick Nuclear Plant, which may already be happening.

“A number of constructed barriers are in place at the entrance to the canal that provides cooling water for plant operations,” Progress Energy Communication Specialist Ryan Mosier said in a statement. “These barriers help prevent marine life from entering the waterway. It is unusual for us to find this number of small turtles in the canal, and we have taken measures to bolster the barriers that prevent them from coming in contact with plant operations.”

The NC Wildlife Resources Commission is examining the turtles to determine the cause of death.

Progress Energy says that will help the company work to prevent any future challenges for the turtles in the area.

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