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North Anna Nuclear Plant crisis: Quake, lake dropping, hurricane approaching

triple whammy threatens Virginia nuke
The North Anna nuclear plants 1 & 2 are facing a triple threat: a reactor trip due to the 5.8 earthquake, a loss of available coolant water in the adjoining Anna Lake, and the approaching Hurricane Irene.

This information was broadcast this morning on KBOO 90.7FM Portland "Press**Watch/The News You're Not Supposed to Know."


The water temperature in the Atlantic off Charleston, South Carolina, is at 93.7 and ranges in the mid-eighties nearby, according to the National Oceanographic data Center maintained by NOAA. This could bode poorly for the region and bring the possibility of sudden hurricane strengthening as Hurricane Irene approaches the US East Coast near South Carolina. As with any hurricane this year, the question is whether global warming will produce another monster. Current CO2 levels are at 392.39 as the hurricane approaches the region where nuclear power plants are still offline from the 5.8 magnitude earthquake earlier this week.

 link to www.wtvr.com

MINERAL, Va (WTVR)- Dominion Virginia Power has lifted an alert at its North Anna Power Station, less than twenty four hours after a powerful earthquake disrupted power.

On Wednesday, the plant started a reactor cooling pump for each of its two units.

Inspectors with Dominion and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission say they found no major damage, or evidence that radioactive materials were leaked from the plant.

However, some residents living in Mineral say they're worried.

The Randlett family says they were still feeling aftershocks from Tuesday's 5.8 magnitude earthquake on Wednesday. The family lives just one mile from the power station, and ten miles from the epicenter of the earthquake.

"We're all just a little bit on edge," says Jennifer Randlett. Randlett says many neighbors are concerned that the water levels in the North Anna Lake have dropped nearly 22" in a day.

Dominion says each of the plant's two nuclear reactors pumps one million gallons of water a minute into the North Anna Lake. Dominion says that flow was disrupted during the power outage, but posed no risk to the public.

On Wednesday, Massachusetts Congressman Ed Markey wrote the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, demanding stronger nuclear safety standards and a moratorium on all new reactors in active seismic areas until a safety review can be conducted.

Markey argued that one of Dominion's four backup emergency generators failed immediately after the earthquake.

The generators provide the power to cool reactors in the event of an electricity outage.

Dominion spokesperson Jim Norvelle says the North Anna Power Station was never in any danger, and that operating crews responded quickly and correctly to the power outage after the quake.

The North Anna plant is built to sustain a 6.2 magnitude earthquake. "We were ready for this, the design was ready for this," says Norvelle.

Despite the reassurance, the Randlett family says they welcome a safety review.
Nuclear Site Status Checked
Regulators Want to Know if North Anna Plant Was Built to Withstand Tremors

Federal regulators are trying to determine whether Tuesday's earthquake in central Virginia subjected the North Anna nuclear plant to more shaking than it was designed to handle.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said it hadn't completely analyzed readings from the site about 40 miles northwest of Richmond, and that its work was continuing. The regulators are working with the utility's owner, which said it was relying on a third party to analyze the seismic data.
The results could shed light on the hardiness of many domestic nuclear plants amid a reassessment of the likelihood of seismic activity in the central and eastern U.S.

The North Anna Power Station, owned by Dominion Resources, Inc., declared an "alert" status after the 5.8-magnitude earthquake—the worst to hit Virginia in more than a century—struck the state and was felt up and down the East Coast. The station lost normal grid power briefly, but four of five generators kicked in. The plant shut down on Tuesday, and it may be several days before it returns to service, Dominion said.

The NRC has been aware of possible gaps in earthquake protection in U.S. nuclear plants since at least 2005, when some utilities, including Dominion, began planning new reactors.

As part of an environmental review for new reactors, regulators noted that more seismic activity was considered possible than had been understood when older plants were built. North Anna has two reactors, put in service in 1978 and 1980, and it submitted a license application for a third reactor in 2007.

Experts hired by Dominion for the proposed North Anna project pegged the peak ground acceleration that should be factored into a new reactor's design at 0.535g—about half the force of gravity and likely to be produced only by a substantial earthquake.

The NRC requires each nuclear reactor to be able to shut down safely if it experiences a certain level of ground motion, known as peak ground acceleration. At North Anna, a rocky part of the site is built to withstand 0.12g and a softer part of the site is built to withstand 0.18g, according to the NRC.

"We're still evaluating the information that's coming in regarding the epicenter and the strength of the quake and all of the instrumentation that's at North Anna," said NRC spokesman Scott Burnell.

If it turns out North Anna suffered more shaking than it was designed to take, the NRC could require upgrades.

"Tuesday's earthquake underscores the importance of the earthquake analysis that the NRC already is doing of areas that didn't used to be considered a seismic risk," said Stephen Maloney, an analyst at Azuolas Risk Advisors, who studies the impact of earthquakes on utilities.


Even before the disaster at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi plant after a 9.0 quake and tsunami in March, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) had marked 27 reactors at 17 eastern locations for special seismic review in light of hazard assessments done by the USGS in 2008.

Two of those reactors, Dominion Power's North Anna units 1 and 2, are only about 10 miles from the epicenter of Tuesday's quake.

Although the plant was designed to handle a quake with a magnitude up to 6.2, it shut down shortly after the temblor as it lost outside electric power and had to turn to diesel generators for cooling. Power was restored late Tuesday night.

A safety alert declared for the plant under NRC rules ended around midday Wednesday, although the commission continued to monitor the reactors closely as they returned to service.

"We may be off the hook this time, but it was such a close call relative to the design of the plant,"said Edwin Lyman, a senior scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists, which advocates tougher plant regulation. "If Fukushima wasn't a wake-up call, this really needs to be to get the NRC and industry moving to do seismic reviews of all the nuclear-power plants in the country."

Coincidentally, the NRC had announced plans for a public session next Tuesday to review an expert panel's recommendations. The panel, set up on orders from President Obama, studied the Japanese reactors' partial meltdowns and extensive radiation releases, and officials' responses.



Now that conditions have stabilized at the two Dominion reactors in Virginia affected by Tuesday's earthquake, federal regulators said Wednesday they plan to conduct a follow-up inspection there.

Two reactors at Dominion Virginia Power's North Anna Power Station in Mineral, Va., on Wednesday ended an alert condition prescribed by federal regulators after power was restored late Tuesday and reactor cooling pumps were restarted.

The two reactors remain shut down, after the 5.8-magnitude earthquake Tuesday tripped both reactors. But instead of being in an "alert" emergency classification, the station is in what the Nuclear Regulatory Commission calls a "Notification of Unusual Event" - the least serious classification, said NRC Region 2 spokesman Joey Ledford.

"The situation is stable," Ledford said.

Late Wednesday, the NRC said in a press release that a follow-up inspection could help determine how the quake compares to what the plant was designed to withstand.

The scope of the inspection is what will be determined by the end of the week, another NRC spokesman, Roger Hannah, said.

In the meantime, since offsite power was restored just before midnight, the company said, each reactor's cooling pumps had been restarted, eliminating the need for emergency generators. After the earthquake, the reactors were cooled by natural circulation and emergency pumps while the reactor coolant pumps were not operating.

Dominion spokesman Jim Norvelle also reported earlier Wednesday that the company has found no damage to equipment at the station, although he said operators are still trying to figure out why power was lost between the switchyard and Dominion Virginia Power, which provides electricity to the site.

The absence of damage "is great news," Norvelle said. "It also showed that the station did exactly what it was supposed to do" when both reactors automatically shut down shortly after the earthquake hit at 1:51 p.m. Tuesday, he said.

Several aftershocks felt in the region did not affect the station, Dominion stated.

Dominion continues to assess North Anna's normal operating systems and structures, while the NRC's resident inspectors there observe the plant's activities and provide first-hand information to the federal agency, Dominion and the NRC said.

Headquartered in Richmond, Va., Dominion also owns and operates two reactors at the Surry site, which were unaffected by the earthquake.

The company does not announce when its reactors officially restart, because the information is proprietary, Norvelle said.

Dominion also owns the Millstone Power Station in Waterford. Millstone's two operating reactors and a third one that is closed did not experience any effects from the earthquake, a spokesman there said Tuesday.
And the Fukushima disaster continues on the North American continent:
 link to www.montrealgazette.com

Salmon caught off the coast of British Columbia will be tested for traces of radiation from the nuclear disaster in Japan, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has announced.

The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in northeastern Japan failed following the earthquake and tsunami that hit the country in March. The power company which owns the reactor said highly radioactive water (about 100,000 times the normal level) from the reactor had leaked into a trench, contaminating nearby water and the air.

"The monitoring of fish off the coast of B.C. is part of a series of measures intended to monitor the impact, if any, of the nuclear crisis in Japan," Alice D'Anjou, a spokeswoman for the CFIA, told Postmedia News in an email. The agency does not expect to find harmful levels of radiation in the fish, D'Anjou said.

"If it's sockeye (salmon), then it's a wise precaution," said fisheries oceanographer Tony Pitcher from the University of British Columbia. Sockeye salmon migrate quite far north and west in the Pacific Ocean into waters that are also crossed by currents coming from Japan, Pitcher said, so there is a chance the salmon will come into contact with organisms carrying some radiation.

Whether the salmon are affected by the radiation depends on what the salmon eat, Pitcher said, and also on the half-life of the particular radioactive isotope that entered the food chain from the reactor.

Pitcher said it is not likely the fish will reveal contamination, but it is important to test them and rule out the possibility. Other salmon species such as Koho and pink salmon do not migrate as far as sockeye and spend less time at sea, he said, so they are much less likely to be affected by the reactor failure.

The CFIA has already tested air quality, B.C. milk and Japanese imports and found no harmful levels of radiation. The sampling is already underway and will continue until September, D'Anjou said.

Meanwhile, Yukon's Department of Health also plans to test the Porcupine caribou herd for radiation from the reactor meltdown.

"There is no reason to believe any significant contamination from radiation has occurred," said Brendan Hanley, chief medical officer of health for the territory, in a statement released Thursday. "We just want to reaffirm that the caribou are safe to eat."

This from NRC:  http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/event-status/event/en.html


At 1403 hrs. EDT, North Anna Power Station declared an Alert due to significant seismic activity onsite. The Alert was declared under EAL HA6.1. Both units experienced automatic reactor trips from 100% power and are currently stable in Mode 3. All offsite electrical power to the site was lost. All four emergency diesel generators (EDG) automatically started and loaded and provided power to the emergency buses.

While operating, the 2H EDG developed a coolant leak and was shutdown. As a result, the licensee added EAL SA1.1 to their declaration.

All control rods inserted into the core. Decay heat is being removed via the steam dumps to atmosphere. No personnel injuries were reported.


The licensee has downgraded the Alert to a Notification of Unusual Event based on equipment alignments and inspection results.

The licensee notified R2 IRC. Notified IRD (Marshall), NRR (Thorp), FEMA (Hollis), DHS (Inzer), USDA (Ferezan), HHS (Willis) and DOE (Parsons).


The licensee has exited the Notification of Unusual Event at 1315 EDT. The exit criteria was that all inspections and walkdowns were completed and plant conditions no longer meet the criteria for a NOUE.

Notified R2DO (Widmann), IRD (Marshall), NRR (Thorp), FEMA (Hollis), DHS (Inzer), USDA (Ferezan), HHS (Willis) and DOE (Jackson).

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Power Reactor Event Number: 47184
Region: 1 State: MD
Unit: [1] [2] [ ]
RX Type: [1] CE,[2] CE
HQ OPS Officer: HOWIE CROUCH Notification Date: 08/23/2011
Notification Time: 14:53 [ET]
Event Date: 08/23/2011
Event Time: 14:05 [EDT]
Last Update Date: 08/24/2011
Emergency Class: UNUSUAL EVENT
10 CFR Section:
50.72(a) (1) (i) - EMERGENCY DECLARED
Person (Organization):

Unit SCRAM Code RX CRIT Initial PWR Initial RX Mode Current PWR Current RX Mode
1 N Y 100 Power Operation 100 Power Operation
2 N Y 100 Power Operation 100 Power Operation

Event Text

"At 1354, the Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Plant (CCNPP) felt seismic activity in the control room.

"Both Unit 1 and Unit 2 maintained full power operations. At 1405 CCNPP declared an Unusual Event (UE) for Unit 1 and Unit 2. NRC Operations center was notified at 1453 via dedicated phone (CCNPP event 4189).

"Both Units continued to operating safely with no actuations. There were no radiological releases.

"An Issue Response Team (IRT) was formed and the site commenced walkdown and inspections of all systems, structures and components for possible seismic damage. All problems found will be entered into the site's Corrective Action Program (CAP) and evaluated for operability."

The licensee notified the NRC Resident Inspector, State, and local government agencies.


They have terminated their Notification of Unusual Event as of 0005 EDT. The licensee has notified the NRC Resident Inspector.

Notified R1DO (Krohn), IRD (Morris), DHS (Knox), FEMA (Via).

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Power Reactor Event Number: 47196
Facility: NORTH ANNA
Region: 2 State: VA
Unit: [1] [2] [ ]
RX Type: [1] W-3-LP,[2] W-3-LP
HQ OPS Officer: CHARLES TEAL Notification Date: 08/25/2011
Notification Time: 01:48 [ET]
Event Date: 08/25/2011
Event Time: 01:18 [EDT]
Last Update Date: 08/25/2011
Emergency Class: UNUSUAL EVENT
10 CFR Section:
50.72(a) (1) (i) - EMERGENCY DECLARED
Person (Organization):

Unit SCRAM Code RX CRIT Initial PWR Initial RX Mode Current PWR Current RX Mode
1 N N 0 Cold Shutdown 0 Cold Shutdown
2 N N 0 Hot Standby 0 Hot Standby

Event Text

On August 25th at 0118 EDT, North Anna Power Station declare an Unusual Event due to seismic activity onsite (EAL HU 1.1). Both units are currently shutdown and electrical power is being supplied from offsite. There were no personnel injuries. There was no radiological release. Site structure and system inspections are in progress. No damage has been identified.

The NRC Resident Inspector and state and local authorities have been notified.

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Thursday, August 25, 2011

homepage: homepage: http://kboo.fm/presswatch

Lake Anna 25.Aug.2011 14:07

Granny M.

22&#8243; lake loss in one day is fast. Lake Anna is artificial, created to provide cooling for the nukes. It is not unthinkable that the quake damaged the dam construction, that further quakes could do more damage which leads to the not impossible scenario of 2 nukes plus spent fuel 4-5 times over capacity with no water available.

Lake Anna 25.Aug.2011 14:18

Granny M.

Lake Anna is 13,000 acres. 22 inches of drop is 8 Billion gallons of water.

Lake Anna 25.Aug.2011 14:54

Granny M

The American Society for Civil Engineers' most recent "report card" on national infrastructure lists a number of trouble spots in Virginia -- including 143 "high-hazard" dams, one of which sits on Lake Anna near the North Anna nuclear power plant.

"A high hazard dam is defined as a dam whose failure would cause a loss of life and significant property damage," the group notes on its website.