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Layoffs Take Place At Brunswick Nuclear Plant

By Christina Haley O'Neal, posted Dec 6, 2018
Involuntary and voluntary severances are happening at Brunswick Nuclear Plant, Duke Energy officials said Thursday.

They did not disclose the number of job cuts to the site, a 1,870-megawatt nuclear plant located about 2 miles north of Southport off River Road.

“At this time, we’ve offered a voluntary severance opportunity for certain groups of employees in specific areas across the company who elect to leave the Company with severance benefits. As part of this process, we’re working closely with our employees to help them understand this voluntary opportunity,” Karen Williams, Duke Energy spokeswoman for Brunswick Nuclear Plant, said in an email.

The company is expecting the majority of the staff reductions through its voluntary severance program, she said. As the company makes final determinations, however, "some groups are pursuing involuntary severances as well,” Williams added.

Employees are being offered severance packages regardless of whether it is voluntary or involuntary, she said.

State commerce department officials said Thursday afternoon that they have not received a WARN notice from the facility. The state requires a WARN notice for mass layoffs when those affect at least 500 employees or between 50-499 employees if the layoff impacts at least a third of the employer’s workforce.

Williams said Duke Energy has no interest in selling the plant, adding “that is not the objective … it's just some efficiencies that the company is looking to achieve.”

Duke Energy owns the facility and has plans to make sure that the plant continues to run “into the mid-century,” Williams said. “We have a long-term goal for this plant.”

The cuts at the Brunswick site came as Charlotte-headquartered Duke Energy is looking at reductions companywide. Williams said the evaluations are happening over other company divisions including human relations, legal, IT and other parts of its business.

"Duke Energy is continuously reviewing our operations to identify opportunities for improvement. This includes our workforce strategy and staffing levels to ensure we’re appropriately staffed with the right skill sets and number of teammates to execute our long-term vision for Duke Energy," Williams wrote in her email.

Currently, in terms of the voluntary separations at Brunswick Nuclear Plant, those offers have been made and the severances are wrapping up over the next few weeks, Williams said on Dec. 7.

“We don’t do this lightly when it comes to staffing. It’s a very thoughtful and an important process … so we are very careful when we approach something like staffing,” Williams said.

Brunswick Nuclear Plant, which became operational in 1975, currently employs 800 to 900 people, she said.

The Brunswick Nuclear Plant is the company's largest employee base in the Wilmington area, a Duke Energy corporate spokesman said.

Duke Energy has not provided specific job cut numbers companywide and did not say how many workers outside of the nuclear plant are being affected in the Wilmington area.

Correction: This story has been updated to clarify that job reductions are being looked at companywide.
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