12/22/13 — Power plant smokestacks imploded on Friday

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Power plant smokestacks imploded on Friday

By Staff Reports
Published in News on December 22, 2013 1:50 AM

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This image provided by Duke Energy Progress shows the falling smokestacks at the Lee plant west of Goldsboro on Friday morning.

The sound of explosions followed moments later by loud thuds echoed through the Old Smithfield Road area Friday morning as a demolition specialist for Duke Energy Progress imploded the smokestacks at the retired H.F. Lee power plant.

The smokestacks had been part of the county landscape for more than 60 years.

The coal-fire units at the plant were retired in the fall of 2012. A new $900 million 920-megawatt plant began commercial operation in early January that use a natural gas combined-cycle design that is more efficient than the old coal-fired units.

It is being fed by a new $85 million 32-mile gas pipeline.

Friday's implosion was first of two that will occur at the site. The second will demolish the boilers and is scheduled for the spring of 2014.

A Duke Energy team has been at the plant since the retirement working on a multi-year decommissioning process.

It involves cleaning and removing equipment, demolishing the buildings and powerhouse and restoring the site.

Duke's plans for retired coal-fired sites such as H.F. Lee is to dismantle the equipment and buildings, and restore the site to ground level. After the second implosion event, Duke Energy will be able to complete demolition activity and begin restoring the land.

Restoration involves filling, grading and seeding the land. The company plans to complete this phase by late-2014 and will continue to own and steward the land in the future.

Video footage of today's implosion event is available at youtube.com/DukeEnergyMediaCtr. Pictures of the implosion event and energy complex are available at flickr.com/photos/dukeenergy/sets/72157638807460714/.

Customers interested in learning more about the decommissioning project can visit duke-energy.com/coal-decommissioning.

More information is available at www.progress-energy.com.