Issue Date: September 5, 2011
Earthquake Triggers Nuclear Plant Review
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission last week dispatched a six-member technical inspection team to the twin-reactor North Anna nuclear power station, in central Virginia, to conduct an on-site review of the impact of the Aug. 23 earthquake. Dominion, the plant operator, reported the 1,800-MW station may have experienced ground motion exceeding the levels it was designed to withstand, NRC said when announcing the investigation. The facility is within a few miles of the 5.8-magnitude earthquake’s epicenter. Immediately after the earthquake, the plant lost power, shut down, and turned to four diesel generators to supply electricity to maintain the plant’s reactor cooling systems. One generator malfunctioned, Dominion says, and the company fired up a replacement. No visual damage was found at the plants, Dominion says, and the company declared the two reactors to be safe. However, the station has not resumed operations and will remain closed until NRC completes its review, which is expected to take three weeks, and issues a report, which is expected in 30 days.
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