North Anna Nuclear Plant Still Awaits Restart

The North Anna nuclear facility that shut down following Virginia’s 5.8-magnitude earthquake in August remains offline, but regulators say the plant sustained “no significant damage” and that the plant operator’s response protected public safety.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission held a public meeting Monday during which it summarized its findings in the wake of North Anna’s shutdown. Regulators confirmed that shaking from the August 23 quake centered in Mineral, Va., just a few miles from North Anna, exceeded what the plant was designed to withstand.

The NRC has defined a series of steps that must be taken by plant operator Dominion Power before the plant can be restarted. The agency has cited problems with equipment that need to be addressed, and the need for better monitoring of seismic activity.

“We’re reviewing Dominion’s information to ensure North Anna’s systems will be able to keep the public safe, and the plant won’t start up again until we’re satisfied on that point,” said Eric Leeds of the NRC in a press release.

The NRC has not said when it expects to approve a restart of North Anna. In Monday’s meeting, it said that regulators would continue to conduct safety reviews “as part of the restart decision-making process.”

(Related Photos: 10 Oldest Nuclear Plants in the United States)

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