Earthquake rocks East Coast, knocks out power to North Anna nuclear station

By Dorothy Davis

An earthquake registering at a magnitude of 5.9 shook parts of the East Coast this afternoon, centering in Virginia and being felt as far as New York City and North Carolina.

The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission has not released an updated power reactor status report, but has received “Notification of Unusual Event” from over six separate reactor sites in the region.

A Notification of Unusual Event is the lowest and least serious of four emergency classifications established by the NRC for nuclear power plants. If placed on a scale of 1 to 4, with 1 being the least serious level of an emergency and 4 being the most serious level of an emergency, a “Notification of Unusual Event” would equal a 1.

According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the quake did knock out power at Dominion Virginia Power’s North Anna nuclear station. North Anna plant officials confirmed a loss of offsite power, but assured the news agency that both reactors were shut down manually and without incident.

"We did lose on-site power, but all the diesel generators are up and running," Dominion spokesman Richard Zuercher said 30 minutes after the quake. "Everything appears to be operating just fine."

The North Anna site is currently utilizing four diesel generators to maintain proper cooling functions at its two reactors.

The North Anna nuclear power station is located in Louisa County in central Virginia, northwest of Richmond and generates 1,806 megawatts from its two units - enough electricity to power 450,000 homes. 



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