Multiple Reports: Black smoke seen rising from North Anna nuclear plant after Virginia quake

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In the wake of developments at North Anna Power Station since last Tuesday’s earthquake, some damage to support buildings, pipe insulation, and transformer bushings was reported after the units shut down automatically when the quake hit and off-site power was lost.

The company and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission are looking into the possibility that vibration (ground-force acceleration) exceeded the plant’s design limit.

Yesterday, Dominion disclosed that 25 of  27 115-ton vertical spent-fuel casks shifted up to four inches on their pads.

An augmented NRC inspection team is looking into what happened, how equipment was affected, and how operators handled the situation.

Jay Nesmith of Spotsylvania County experienced the earthquake from a rather unique perspective –on his boat on Lake Anna. […]

“I started to hear this rumble, and I thought they were doing some construction at the plant. It was a rumble that sounded very deep beneath the boat. All of a sudden, (the boat) started to rattle. Then it got really intense” […]

Back at the landing, he heard a roar from the power plant and saw some black smoke rising. That turned out to be related to an automatic shutdown at the plant, which was just around the next bend. […]

LAKE ANNA WAS ‘LIKE A JACUZZI’, Free Lance Star (Fredericksburg), September 2, 2011
Source:, via @ENENEWS

Former Armstrong resident thought quake ‘was a nuclear accident‘ – Leader Times August 23, 2011

Dominion Virginia Power‘s North Anna Power Station has restored off-site power, eliminating the need to rely on its back-up generators.

Every day Mike Wilburn, a Mineral, Va., resident, semi-pro bass fisherman and retired Washington D.C. Metro System master mechanic with ties to Armstrong County, is on Lake Anna for some quiet and relaxing bass fishing.

But at about 1:50 p.m. on Tuesday, Wilburn’s afternoon — alone in his bass boat in a cove on the man-made, 9,600-acre Lake Anna reservoir about 200 yards from the North Anna nuclear power plant — took an unexpected turn.

Wilburn said he heard a loud boom and saw black smoke coming from the plant; felt a sonic wave that came through the woods and across the water and watched the water bubbling up all around him.

“I thought it was a nuclear accident,” said Wilburn. “It turned out to be the ripple affect of an earthquake underneath me. It lasted 15 to 20 seconds.”

“I started freaking out and headed home,” he said.

Wilburn was later told that what he heard and saw at the nuclear plant was the release valves kicking in and changing to diesel generating as part of an automatic safety mechanism.
Source: Leader Times

Comment from Mineral Virginia Resident


I live within a couple miles of the plant, I saw the black start up smoke of the back up generators within a minute or so of the quake.

I live on the hot side of Lake Anna, and used to work at NAPS, it’s only 2 miles away.

The water level on the hot side has dropped by about 8 inches since the quake – and there has not been any info on the dam that forms this lake.

Va Power has not kept any of us locals informed about whats going on, and the dam is crucial to cooling.


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