The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has dispatched an augmented inspection team to the 1,950 MW North Anna nuclear power station to further review the effects of a 5.8 magnitude earthquake that took place on August 23. The team will also review the operators’ response and the plant staff’s activities to check equipment.
The station’s two units automatically shut down after the facility lost offsite power. Emergency diesel generators provided power to cool the reactors until offsite power was restored a few hours later.
The station remains shut down and the operator, Dominion (NYSE: D), continues to review data from the quake and assess possible effects. No significant damage to safety systems has been identified, but Dominion has reported to the NRC that initial reviews determined the plant may have exceeded the ground motion for which it was designed. This determination is in line with NRC’s preliminary independent analyses, although data is still being collected and analyzed to determine the precise level of shaking that was experienced at key locations within the North Anna facility. The company and the NRC will continue to carefully evaluate information to determine if additional actions may be necessary.
NRC regulations require that the station not start up until it can demonstrate that no functional damage occurred to those features needed for continued safe operation.
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