Tuesday, August 23, 2011

(UPDATED) 2 Nuclear Reactors Shut Down In Virginia Following M5.9 Earthquake

(UPDATE) According to the plant operator Dominion's press release, the external power has been restored. The release doesn't say what time it was restored. One of the diesel generator was taken offline after the generator coolant leaked, but the 5th generator at the plant took its place. There has been no leak of radioactive materials in the environment other than that during the normal operation.


From NBC Washington (2:35PM EST 8/23/2011):

A nuclear power plant located in Louisa County, the epicenter of the earthquake in Virginia, has shut down.

The North Anna Power Station, operated by Dominion Power, has two reactors. The plant declared an "unusual event" in the wake of the 5.9 magnitude quake, which is the lowest stage on the plant's emergency scale.

As a result, the plant has been shut down.

Check back with NBC Washington for more updates as they become available.


The AP reports the plant is being run off of four emergency diesel generators, which are supplying power for critical safety equipment.

(And what does the stock market do on the news? Bots go overdrive of course and ramp up the market. What else do they do? Sell gold and silver! Make sense, doesn't it? Time to buy risky assets (stocks) in times of uncertainty.)

(Oh I see. Maybe when they evacuated the exchanges they instructed the bots to just keep buying stocks no matter what...)


Anonymous said...

Better yet, Dominion Resources, the owner of the North Anna NPP saw its share price surge 1.75% on the news it had to shut the facility down! Imagine if the reactors had blown up, the price might have doubled!

American markets left reality behind long ago. They operate now in a fantasy world of HFT and political manipulation. See what happened to the CEO of S&P for daring to downgrade USG debt?

Anonymous said...

Never mind what's happening with the reactors, how much spent fuel is in the spent fuel pool(s), and what's happening with them?

According to this blog (see link below), which quotes from an email from Bob Alvarez:

- North Anna reactors are Westinghouse PWRs, online since 1979-80

- approx. 1,200 metric tons of spent fuel generated at North Anna in 32 years since then

- the North Anna spent fuel contains approx. 228,000 curies of highly radioactive materials, which is said to be "among the largest concentrations of radioactivity" in the US.

- approx. 40% North Anna spent fuel pool radioactivity is Cs-137 viz. "The North Anna pools hold about 15-30 times more Cs-137 than was released by the Chernobyl accident in 1986.

- "In 2003, IPS helped lead a study warning that drainage of a pool might cause a catastrophic radiation fire, which could render an area uninhabitable greater than that created by the Chernobyl accident."

- North Anna spent fuel pools "contain 4-5 times more than their original designs intended" viz. "As in Japan, all U.S. power nuclear power plant spent fuel pools do not have steel lined, concrete barriers that cover reactor vessels to prevent the escape of radioactivity. They are not required to have back-up generators to keep used fuel rods cool, if offsite power is lost. Even though they contain these very large amount of radioactivity, spent reactor fuel pools in the U.S. are mostly contained in ordinary industrial structures designed to protect them against the elements."


This is, what, 80 miles from Washington DC?

What the else will it take to shut this fucking industry down?

Or are we finally done now?

Anonymous said...

Pre-quake pics of independent spent fuel storage installation (ISFSI) for nuclear waste at North Anna, VA:


Will they stay standing in a 5+mag quake?

Anonymous said...

The local news Ch. 4 just reported the plant is running on three of the four emergency generators originally they reported all four were operational. The announcement was made in passing with the ever present "everything is fine" as if they would tell us if there was a problem.

Anonymous said...

In the first place, if they are using diesel generators, it means the plants have lost external power supply, otherwise they wouldn't be needed.

I don't know what type of plant these are, but I hope they aren't the same type as in Fukushima where a loss of power = shit hitting fan.

These generators can only function for a certain amount of time.
Remember Arnie Gundersens report where he said Japanese reactors were meant to hold 8 hours on emergency power ( and they held 6) and US plants were meant to hold 4 hours only on emergency power ?
Maybe they shut down one generator to save diesel to keep running the other three.

Anonymous said...

"Company admits Virginia nuke plant only designed to withstand a magnitude 5.9 – 6.1 earthquake — Today’s quake was 5.9"


Anonymous said...

A tweet at this link claims Va. NPP evacuation

"CONFIRMED: North Anna Nuclear Power Plant being evacuated to only ‘critical’ personnel"


arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

External power restored. See the post update.

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