The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office conducted an investigation following a concerning incident at the Oconee Nuclear Station in South Carolina on Thursday night.
At approximately 8:05 p.m. on Thursday, deputies from the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office responded immediately to an emergency call from the Oconee Nuclear Station. An unknown individual had reportedly driven a car through the exit side of the facility’s gate, facing Highway 183, FOX Carolina reported.
According to on-site accounts, following the unauthorized entry, the facility’s security systems activated pop-up barricades designed to immobilize intruding vehicles. The rogue driver, however, managed to reverse the vehicle upon encountering these barricades and proceeded down an adjacent dirt road. It was here that Duke Energy security personnel made an effort to block the intruding car.
Undeterred, the driver escalated the situation by ramming through a fence and attempting to strike the security personnel on-site. Making a hasty exit from the plant premises, the driver, in his bid to escape, tried to ram a security member’s truck parked near the exit.
The car then continued its reckless rampage, speeding back onto Highway 183 and eventually diverting to a property on Jones Mill Road. It was at this location that gunshots were reported, though the source remains unconfirmed by the deputies.
The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office, led by Master Deputy Jimmy Watt, is currently on a manhunt for the suspect and the vehicle involved, WYFF News 4 reported.
They have identified the car as a silver 2002 Toyota Camry with an Arkansas license plate bearing the tag number 380VDR.
What deepens the mystery of this audacious act is that approximately an hour prior to this incident, the same vehicle and its driver had made an appearance on the premises of the Oconee Nuclear Station. Upon confrontation, the individual was asked to leave, to which he complied before the later intrusion.
Law enforcement agencies have issued a plea to the public: anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of the driver of the Toyota Camry with Arkansas tag 380VDR is urged to contact 911 immediately.
The Oconee Nuclear Station, according to Duke Energy’s records, boasts three nuclear reactors, making it one of the largest nuclear facilities in the United States.
According to its website:
Duke Energy, a Fortune 150 company headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., is one of America’s largest energy holding companies. Our electric utilities serve 8.2 million customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky, and collectively own 50,000 megawatts of energy capacity. Our natural gas unit serves 1.6 million customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Ohio and Kentucky. Our company employs 28,000 people.
We’re executing an aggressive clean energy transition to achieve its goals of net-zero methane emissions from its natural gas business by 2030 and net-zero carbon emissions from electricity generation by 2050. We have interim carbon emission targets of at least 50% reduction from electric generation by 2030, 50% for Scope 2 and certain Scope 3 upstream and downstream emissions by 2035, and 80% from electric generation by 2040.