Nuclear power plant offline after earthquake

Two nuclear reactors at Dominion Virginia's 1,953.4 MW North Anna Power Station in Virginia were automatically taken offline by safety systems after a 5.8-magnitude earthquake hit near Richmond, Va. on August 23. The tremors could be felt as far away as New York and Detroit. No major damage has been reported.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the North Anna nuclear power plant was running off of four emergency diesel generators that were supplying power for critical safety equipment including cooling operations. The plant is located about 20 miles from where the epicenter is reportedly located.

The reactors are Westinghouse three-loop pressurized water reactors. Unit 1 is rated at 980.5 MW and has been in operation since 1978, while Unit 2 has 972.9 MW of capacity and has been in operation since 1980.

Dominion said in a press release that the earthquake also caused the company's recently opened 580 MW Bear Garden natural gas-fired power plant to shut down automatically. The Surry nuclear power plant did not shut down and continues to operate as normal.

Constellation Energy Nuclear Group (NYSE: CEG) released a statement saying an unusual event was declared at the 1,735 MW Calvert Cliffs nuclear power plant in Maryland, the lowest of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission's four emergency levels. The plant, along with Constellation's 498 MW Ginna and the 1,761 MW Nine Mile Point nuclear plants, all continue to operate safely and at full power, the company said.

Other nuclear power plants in Virginia, Pennsylvania and New Jersey have all declared unusual events after the quake, the article said.

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