NRC now sending ‘Augmented Inspection Team’ to quake-hit Virginia nuke plant — Does not ‘necessarily’ mean reactors are any less safe, stresses NRC

Published: August 30th, 2011 at 11:04 am ET
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Nuclear Panel Expanding Team to Check for Quake Damage, New York Times, August 29, 2011:

The earthquake last Tuesday in Virginia may have produced stronger shaking at the North Anna nuclear plant than the reactors were designed to withstand, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has sent additional inspectors to determine what steps are needed to determine if there is damage. [...]

Cases of reactors experiencing bigger ground motions than the designers had anticipated are rare, industry experts said.

The commission announced Monday that it was sending an “augmented inspection team,” which is expected to be on site for several weeks. Sending the team “should not be interpreted to mean that Dominion staff responded inappropriately or that the station is less safe as a result of the quake,” said Victor McCree, the commission’s administrator for the region that includes Virginia. [...]

Regulators Calls for Further Investigation at Earthquake-Affected Plant in Virginia, ABC News, August 29, 2011:

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is sending more inspectors to a Virginia nuclear power plant to further review what damage last week’s 5.8 magnitude earthquake may have caused. [...]

The NRC stressed that the expanded investigation does not necessarily mean the plant is any less safe, but they have formed an Augmented Inspection Team to conduct the investigation.

According to the NRC, an AIT is formed by the NRC “to review more significant events or issues at NRC-licensed facilities.” This is an additional investigation after the NRC initially sent a seismic expert and another structural expert, according to an NRC statement released Monday, to “assist the agency’s resident inspectors on site.” [...]

Published: August 30th, 2011 at 11:04 am ET
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