Virginia: Nuclear Reactors Expected to Reopen Soon
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The North Anna nuclear reactors in Mineral, the only ones shut down by the Aug. 23 earthquake on the East Coast, will probably be allowed to reopen within weeks, a senior official of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said Friday. After a two-month, $21 million inspection, staff engineers told the commission at a two-hour briefing that the plant suffered only cosmetic damage. The limited damage led the plant's operator, Dominion, and the commission to debate whether their standard for measuring a quake's strength -- based simply on ground motion -- was the best one. That measure indicated that the ground motion on Aug. 23 exceeded what the reactors were designed for. But when engineers measured the quake by the total amount of energy it delivered, the quake was far too weak to produce significant damage. (The energy measure is based on both the shaking and its duration.) Most of the cosmetic damage found at the plant was limited to concrete, Dominion said.
First Published October 22, 2011 12:00 am