NRC: No Rush to Restart Quake Plant

Wednesday, October 12, 2011 @ 02:10 PM gHale


Dominion will not be able to restart the 1,806-megawatt North Anna nuclear power plant in Virginia until sometime after an Oct. 21 meeting, Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) officials said.

The North Anna plant shut down safely following the Aug. 23 earthquake in Virginia, but NRC spokesman Scott Burnell said he could not say when the NRC would be ready to allow Dominion to restart the plant’s two reactors.

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At the Oct. 21 meeting at the NRC headquarters in Rockville, MD, the NRC said the commissioners will hear presentations from Dominion and the management of the NRC’s Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation and the NRC’s Region II office in Atlanta.

Dominion said the 903-MW Unit 1 at North Anna was ready for restart by the end of last month. The 903-MW Unit 2 will remain shut for a planned refueling outage. One megawatt powers about 1,000 homes.

After the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant in Japan suffered damage in March by an earthquake and tsunami, the NRC is taking no chances and is not ready to allow Dominion to restart the reactors.

The Aug. 23 5.8 magnitude earthquake in Virginia generated stronger ground motion than what was anticipated during the licensing of North Anna, located about 40 miles northwest of Richmond.

The NRC has said it wants Dominion to prove the plant can operate safely before the agency will approve of its restart.



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