North Anna Nuclear Plant Quake May Have Been Beyond Safety Design

The North Anna nuclear plant in Virginia experienced a power loss after an earthquake hit the eastern US. A number of things have caused concern about the North Anna plant including statements that the earthquake did not trip the reactors into automatic shutdown.

The power plants seismic monitoring equipment was sent off to the manufacturer for analysis. The initial and mid-term analysis both state that the quake was beyond the design basis for the plant.

Following the event, seismic data was retrieved from the installed monitoring system and shipped to the vendor to determine the response spectrum for the event. On August 26, 2011 at 1340 hours, initial reviews of the data determined that the seismic activity potentially exceeded the Design Basis Earthquake magnitude value above 5 Hz.”

No word yet if the NRC will require additional tests or if they will reconsider the license extension on the reactors in light of this new situation.

Eyewitness reports are coming in that state the quake was very unusual compared to most Pacific region quakes. Rusty Dennen at Fredricksburg.com rode out the quake on his boat near the nuclear plant.

NRC reports on the earthquake at North Anna Power Station
NRC report of beyond design basis incident at North Anna Power Station

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