Dominion Power Wants to Restart Nuclear Reactors Shut Down During Quake

Plant has been out of service since August 23

View Comments ()
|
Email
|
Print

    NEWSLETTERS

    Getty Images
    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)

    A Dominion Virginia Power official told the Nuclear Regulatory Commission Friday that two nuclear reactors shut since an Aug. 23 Virginia earthquake did not suffer functional damage and are ready to restart.

    David Heacock, President and Chief Nuclear Officer of Dominion Nuclear, said at a briefing Friday that the company found no damage that would preclude operating the reactors at the North Anna Power Station.

    "We have gone over North Anna very systematically - every safety system, structure and component - and found no safety-related functional damage,'' Heacock said. ``The seismic, thermal and mechanical stress margins designed into all safety-related piping, equipment and structures made it more than able to withstand this earthquake.''

    Eric Leeds, director of the NRC's office of nuclear reactor regulation, who is charged with making a decision on whether to restart the reactors, said the agency's review remains ongoing.

    ``However, to date the staff has not identified any significant issue,'' he said. Leeds said that the staff will hold another public hearing in the region on Nov. 1. The plant is located about 50 miles northwest of Richmond, Va.

    Last month, the NRC told the energy company that its nuclear reactors will remain shut down pending permission from the agency to restart them. The reactors are about 11 miles from the quake's epicenter. Dominion says seismic vibrations from the 5.8-magnitude earthquake caused the reactors to shut down.

    The NRC has said that the earthquake caused peak ground movement greater than what the plant was designed for.

    Last week, the NRC noted a leak of coolant water from the nuclear plant into the nearby Lake Anna.  According to the NRC, the released liquid, approximately 240 gallons, did not pose a health threat.