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North Anna closure might be a first; Nuclear Plant may be retired due to earthquake

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posted on Aug, 31 2011 @ 06:08 PM
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One of the nuclear power plants that are 11 miles from the 5.8 earthquake epicenter may be shut down due to damage. The news report says the assesment is incomplete but known damage is minimal. The two units were designed in the 1960's and built in the 1970's so age may be a consideration and not cost effective for repairs even if minor. Only one unit is being considered for retirement at this time.




An NRC augmented inspection team arrived at the North Anna nuclear-power station Tuesday to review the effects of last week's earthquake, the operators' response and the plant staff's activities to check equipment.

"Until we get more information about what the plant experienced, it's difficult to say what steps the NRC may require Dominion to take going forward," said NRC spokesman Roger Hannah in Atlanta.

The utility said Tuesday that it had completed about a fourth of the detailed inspections of the two plants and about a third of the related civil-engineering inspections of the power station's facilities.

"We didn't find anything significant," company spokesman Jim Norvelle said.

Damage, which he described as minor, includes a hairline crack in the cinderblock wall of a fuel storage building in the power station, and insulation falling off piping in the turbine building and off the refueling water storage tank, though no damage occurred to the tank, Norvelle said.

Neither Dominion Virginia Power nor NRC officials would speculate on how long the two 980-megawatt nuclear units would be out of service.

The utility said it plans to move up its planned refueling of North Anna 2, originally scheduled for late September. In the U.S. nuclear-power industry, refuelings average a month, the company said.

"We're not going to operate the plant in an unsafe mode," said David A. Christian, Dominion Resources Inc.'s executive vice president and CEO of its power generation business.

"I don't think this earthquake introduced any new considerations to cause us to think the North Anna plant can't continue to operate safely and offer low-cost electricity to our customers," Christian said.



source: www2.timesdispatch.com...




posted on Aug, 31 2011 @ 06:11 PM
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One down, 431 to go.



 
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