Earthquake Rocked North Anna: Twice What Nuclear Plant Designed to Withstand

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The 5.8-magnitude earthquake last month in Virginia caused about twice as much ground shaking as a nearby nuclear power plant was designed to withstand, according to a preliminary federal analysis.

Parts of the North Anna Power Station in Mineral, Va., 11 miles from its epicenter, endured jolts equal to 26% of the force of gravity (0.26g) from some of the vibrations unleashed by the quake, said Scott Burnell, spokesman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

An NRC document says the reactors’ containment structure was built to withstand 12% of the force of gravity (0.12g.) Dominion, the plant’s operator, says parts of the plant can handle up to 0.18g.

“It’s the things inside the buildings that may have been shaken more than the design called for,” Burnell said, adding the buildings themselves appear to have been less affected. He said the analysis is based on a seismograph reading taken about 30 miles away by the U.S. Geological Survey.

Source: abcnews.go.com, via Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear News

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