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Quake caused massive containers of spent fuel to shift at Virginia nuke plant — “We’re trying to learn as much as possible” says NRC

Published: September 1st, 2011 at 6:13 am ET
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Spent nuclear fuel shifted, Free Lance Star, September 1, 2011:

In another indication of the power of last week’s magnitude-5.8 earthquake, officials at North Anna Power Station said yesterday that 25 of 27 vertical steel casks that hold highly radioactive spent fuel shifted on their pads.

Richard Zuercher, spokesman for Dominion power’s nuclear operations, said none is leaking, all are intact, and there is no danger to the public or plant employees.

“The earthquake did move, slightly, some of the dry storage casks on the pad,” he said. The steel casks, which weigh up to 115 tons when loaded, shifted between an inch and 4 inches.

“We’re evaluating whether we need to move them back,” Zuercher said. [...]

Earthquake caused massive nuclear storage casks to move, Times-Dispatch, August 31, 2011

The shifting of these massive casks holding used nuclear fuel was the first caused by an earthquake in the U.S., according to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. [...]

“The information available indicates the shifting did not affect safety in any way,” [NRC spokesman Scott Burnell] said. “It is an instance of an event we had not previously seen, so were [sic] trying to learn as much as possible.” [...]

Last week’s magnitude-5.8 earthquake shook protective electrical devices at the North Anna Power Station strongly enough to cause the plant to shut down automatically, the first time this has occurred in the United States.

The power station remained out of service Wednesday as company and NRC officials continued detailed inspections [...]

h/t Risabee, anonymous tip

Published: September 1st, 2011 at 6:13 am ET
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