NRC Commits North Anna Nuclear Power Plant to Further Investigation – Likely to have extra margins built into the design"

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WASHINGTON—U.S. nuclear officials and Dominion Resources Inc. are working to determine whether Dominion’s North Anna nuclear-power plant in central Virginia was built to withstand the ground motion it sustained Tuesday after a magnitude-5.8 earthquake struck nearby Mineral, Va.

The plant remains in what is known as “alert” status, the second lowest stage of four emergency situations tracked by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

The analysis of North Anna will determine whether the ground motion at the plant Tuesday exceeded the levels the plant was built to withstand.

 

[box_dark]The ground below North Anna is a mix of soil and rock, so there are two standards.

The rock part of the site is built to withstand the equivalent of a magnitude 5.9 quake.

The soil part of the site, meanwhile, is built to withstand a magnitude 6.2 quake.

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The plant is likely to have “extra margins built into the design,” NRC spokesman Scott Burnell.  So “the real-world performance” could be better than those levels.

“We’re still evaluating the information that’s coming in regarding the epicenter and the strength of the quake and all of the instrumentation that’s at North Anna,” Mr. Burnell said. “We’re determining what sort of forces North Anna dealt with.”

The NRC is determining whether to send a formal team of inspectors to the North Anna plant.

Source: online.wsj.com, via Enformable

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