The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission told Dominion Resources Inc. that it won’t let the North Anna reactors restart after last month’s earthquake until the agency is confident operations would be safe.
The commission said in a statement today that it planned additional inspections at the nuclear power plant near Louisa, Virginia. The reactors haven’t generated electricity since a 5.8-magnitude temblor on Aug. 23, the state’s worst in more than a century.
“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,” Eric Leeds, director of the NRC’s Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation, said in a statement.
Regulators are using the 33-year-old nuclear plant as a model to re-evaluate earthquake risks. Dominion filed on Sept. 17 for permission to start the North Anna reactors as soon as the company completes a list of tests and examinations.
The NRC will release the preliminary results of its review on Oct. 3 at a public meeting at the North Anna plant, about 40 miles (64 kilometers) northwest of Dominion’s headquarters in Richmond.
“In multiple, detailed inspections, we have found no significant damage at North Anna caused by the quake,” Jim Norvelle, a spokesman for Dominion, said in an e-mail today. “We will continue to work with the NRC as it performs its necessary inspections.”
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