Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Quake Under Nuclear Plant

The epicenter of today's 5.9 earthquake was Mineral, Virginia.  It's the home of the North Anna Nuclear Project owned by Dominion Resources.

Who knew a fault line sat under a Virginia nuclear power plant?  Even environmentalists, opposing expansion at the site never cited earthquake risks.

Bloomberg reported power failures at the plant, requiring emergency generators to kick in.  The article addressed seismic concerns, given the lack of earthquake design:

A study by North Anna of the plant’s fire and flood protection structures had identified vulnerable areas that were “not seismically designed.”

“The licensee will evaluate the issues above in order to determine if additional mitigation strategies are required,” the letter stated.

When North Anna was built, some of these systems were not required to be designed to seismic standards, a Dominion spokesman said.
Power to the plant needs to be restored. That's the short term solution.  Who knows about the long term

Update 8-29-11:  Virginia's power needs shrunk precipitously after Hurricane Irene left hundreds of thousands without power.  Only one disaster behind, the feds boosted inspections of the North Anna Nuclear Project.

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