Dominion: Earthquake Caused Reactor Shutdown

Two reactors shut down during August quake

Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011  |  Updated 1:28 PM EDT
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The North Anna Power Station has remained closed since last month's 5.8 magnitude earthquake, which caused both of the station's reactors to shut down. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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Dominion Virginia Power has acknowledged that vibrations from last month's 5.8 magnitude earthquake were responsible for shutting down the North Anna Power Station, not a power outage as it had initially thought.

According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Dominion reported the findings of an internal investigation to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Tuesday night. The company told the commission that seismic vibrations from the Aug. 23 quake caused internal power levels to drop a second before the loss of off-site electricty. When the power levels fell, control rods dropped into the reactor core and stopped the nuclear chain reaction, shutting down both the plant's reactors.

Dominion had initially believed that the shutdown was caused by a loss of off-site electricity.

The epicenter of the earthquake was located near Mineral, Va., about 11 miles from the North Anna plant, which remains closed.   

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