Duke Energy says three earthen dams on Lake James are safe. But the utility is spending millions of dollars to strengthen them against an earthquake.
The Burke County dams were built in the 1910s. They are being
fortified in case there is an earthquake like the one that hit Charleston, South Carolina, in 1886.
The Charlotte Observer reports Duke Energy and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission declined requests to see nonpublic documents about the dams.
The commission increased standards for utilities in the 1990s. Mary O'Driscoll says analysis found the dams at Lake James and one at Lake Wateree, South Carolina, could weaken in a quake.
\ Duke spent five million dollars on the Lake Wateree dam in 2002. Duke is spending 90 (m) million dollars on the Lake James dams.