Dominion shuts down nuclear power plant after tornado touches down in switchyard

Richmond, Va., April 17, 2011 Dominion Virginia Power reported April 16 that an apparent tornado touched down on the switchyard supporting Surry Power Station and the facility's access road, and cut off the electrical feed from the grid to the station. An off-site power source has been restored to each unit.

Both reactors at the nuclear station shut down automatically as designed and back-up diesel generators started immediately to provide electricity necessary to maintain both units in a safe and stable condition.

No release of radioactive material has occurred beyond those minor releases associated with normal station operations. These minor releases are below federally approved operating limits, and pose no threat to station workers or the public.

The apparent tornado did not strike the two nuclear units, which are designed to withstand natural events such as tornados, hurricanes and earthquakes. The reactors are housed inside steel reinforced concrete containment buildings.

There were no injuries at the site. Power company personnel are working to complete restoration of electrical service to the station.

Dominion notified the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission of this unusual situation, as well as state and local officials.

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