The two-reactor North Anna nuclear power plant in Virginia automatically shut down following a 5.8 magnitude earthquake this afternoon.
The two reactors both automatically shut down safely, Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokesperson Elizabeth Stuckle confirmed. North Anna is the closest plant to the epicenter of the earthquake.
Four diesel generators automatically came on to power the plant and are working well, Stuckle said.
The earthquake was classified as an “out of the ordinary event” by North Anna and nine other nuclear power plants in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia. Tremors were felt as far north as New York, but North Anna was the only plant reported shut down for now.
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More on North Anna can be found here.
Photo Caption: The North Anna, Virgina, #1 and #2 nuclear power generation stations operated by Dominion Virginia Power are seen March 24, 2011, at Lake Anna, Virginia, in this aerial photo. The Lake Anna Reactor is ranked 7th most at-risk for earthquake damage. According to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, North Anna #1 and # 2 face an annual 1 in 22,727 chance of the core being damaged by an earthquake and exposing the public to radiation. The national average for US nuclear plants is a 1 in 74,000 chance. The top five most at-risk plants are all on the east coast: Indian Point, north of New York City; the Pilgrim Plant south of Boston, Limerick outside of Philadelphia, the Sequoyah plants near Chattanooga Tennessee and Beaver Valley near Pittsburgh. These five plants are at a higher statistical risk than those along fault lines in California, for example, because they were not designed for and built in presumed strong quake danger areas. Since they were constructed the US federal government has revised upwards the quake risks where they are. According to Jim Norvelle with Dominion Power, North Anna was designed to withstand a magnitude 5.9 Ã‚Â– 6.1 earthquake.