More Woes at Quake Plant

Friday, April 13, 2012 @ 05:04 PM gHale


Federal inspectors found shortcomings with an equipment replacement at Dominion Resources Inc.’s North Anna nuclear power plant in Virginia after an August earthquake forced it to shut down.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) will discuss an apparent violation of the plant’s technical specifications with Dominion officials April 20 before determining how to proceed.

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Inspectors flagged the plant after finding a gasket failure prevented one of its emergency diesel generators from working properly. Workers replaced the gasket the same day, but the NRC said the utility company didn’t have adequate procedures for installing the part.

A Dominion spokesman said the company looks forward to providing the NRC with details about the event, adding the incident didn’t affect public health or safety.

Nuclear safety procedures have attracted renewed public attention after Japan’s earthquake last year exposed gaps in its nuclear industry’s disaster preparedness. The country’s Fukushima Dai-ichi plant suffered a triple meltdown after an earthquake-triggered tsunami knocked out backup generators supposed to keep the reactors cool.

The NRC said it determined the significance of the North Anna deficiency was “greater than green” on its color-coded safety scale, which ranges from green to red in severity. The NRC has not determined the event’s actual significance, however.

Dominion in October said the North Anna plant was ready to restart after a 5.8-magnitude earthquake forced it to shut down. The utility said it had “found no damage whatsoever that could preclude operation.”



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