Abandoned Nuclear Power Plant from The Abyss

James Cameron had a problem. The script was done, but he had no location to shoot his movie called “The Abyss”. Do you remember this movie from 1989? Civilian divers encounter aliens while trying to rescue a stricken nuclear submarine. Most of the action was underwater. He could shoot the movie at sea, but he would be at the mercy of waves, weather, and way out of this world insurance premiums.

Not far from the peach fields of Gaffney, SC, a perfect location was found in an abandoned nuclear power plant. In the 1970s Duke Power began construction on a new nuclear plant. After spending over a billion dollars in today’s dollars and with only one of three reactors partially completed, work was halted and the project was abandoned.

Soon after, a local businessman bought the site and converted the complex into a movie studio. The ultimate green movie set? Cameron soon came came calling and determined he could fill the containment vessel with 7.5 million gallons of water and turn it into the largest underwater set ever. After the production went above budget, the set was never dismantled. Check out the pictures.

You can’t visit this place anymore. The old nuclear power plant and the set was demolished in 2007 to make way for a new $11 billion two-unit nuclear power plant at the site. I need to blog about this new project in the future.


  1. I was actually one of the first Duke people back on the property to determine if the site could be used for a new power plant. We visited the set. Found the "cutting room floor" along with some film canisters from the movie. Found other sets in one of the buildings. It was a neat place to explore.

  2. I was there in the early 90's when it was pretty much untouched since production wraped. All of the interior Deepcore sets were there! Would of loved to have seen the tanks empty of the water.

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