Anna Nuclear Plant Forced To Vent Steam Following Power Failure From Virginia Earthquake

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The Anna nuclear power plant, hit by the Virginia Earthquake, was forced to release steam after losing electricity and a generator used to cool the plant failed.

Earlier today two of the nuclear power plants at the epicenter of today’s 5.9 earthquake were taken offline due to a power outage. The cooling functions at those plants were switched to run off emergency backup generators. 1 of the 4 generators failed within minutes despite an earlier NRC inspection and certification the generators were fit to use in the event of an emergency like today.

Backup Generator Cooling Nuclear Power Plant Shutdown By Virginia Quake Fails

” href=”http://cdn1.alexanderhiggins.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/Backup-Generator-Cooling-Virginia-Nuclear-Plant-Fails-290×172.jpg”>Backup Generator Cooling Virginia Nuclear Plant Fails

The NRC is now reporting one of the four back up generators that has been shutdown at the epicenter of the 5.9 Virginia earthquake has failed.

There has been a series of unusual events at nuclear power plants across the nation from North Carolina to Virgina following today’s 5.9 earthquake that struck with an epicenter near Mineral, Virginia’s Anna nuclear power plant. The earthquake caused power outages at the Anna plant which forced workers to shutdown the reactors and switch to emergency backup generator’s to cool the nuclear fuel rods at the reactor. While the NRC supposedly tested and certified the safety and functionality at the nuclear plant following the Fukushima nuclear meltdown, the NRC is now reporting that one of the backup generators at the plant failed just moments after being started.

As reported earlier the media initially ignored reporting on the status of the Anna nuclear power plant near the epicenter of today’s Virgina earthquake.

Media Silent On Fate Of Anna Nuclear Plant At Epicenter Of 5.9 Mineral Virginia Earthquake

Location of North Anna Nuclear Generating Station

A massive 5.9 earthquake, the largest ever in recorded history, which has been felt across the U.S. from Colorado To Massachusetts, has an epicenter near Mineral Virginia’s Anna Nuclear Power Plant.

Read more…

Soon after the media began reporting on the status of plant saying the plants electrical power had been cut-off and the spent fuel pools at the reactors were being cooled by power supplied by emergency backup generators at the nuclear plant.

Two Nuclear Reactors Taken Offline, 9 Declare Unusual Events, After Virginia Earthquake

Mineral Virgina - North Anna Nuclear Plant Taken Offline By Earth Quake

After raising the question on why the media was being silent on the fate of the Anna Virginia nuclear reactors we learn the earthquake has taken 9 nuclear plants offline.

Read more…

CNN is now reporting that, according the NRC one of the four emergency generators providing electricity to cool the reactors has failed. The generator failure even comes after the NRC reviewed them and said they were in ready working order following the nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear reactor in Japan.

[…]

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Now CNN reports that the nuclear power plant was forced to vent steam into the atmosphere, which I assume  was step needed to relieve pressure inside the overheating reactor to prevent a hydrogen explosion like the ones that occurred at the Fukushima nuclear reactor.

CNN reports on the release of steam from the Anna nuclear plant, in which they oddly quote  a county spokesperson instead of an official from the plant, or an official from the NRC.

The earthquake triggered the automatic shutdown of a nuclear power plant less than 20 miles from the epicenter after it lost electricity. The quake signaled “unusual events” at 12 other nuclear facilities across the East Coast and Michigan, U.S. authorities reported.

Dominion Virginia Power said both reactors at its North Anna plant shut down after the first tremors. [Louisa County spokeswoman Amanda] Reidelbach  said the plant vented steam, but there was no release of radioactive material. Dan Stoddard, senior vice president of nuclear operations for Dominion, said there was no damage to the spent fuel pool.

Officials were restoring full power to the site, which was operating on diesel generators. Stoddard said that might happen by late Tuesday, but that was before the evening aftershock. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission was monitoring the plant.

[…]

Source: CNN

CNN did not report on why was the plant forced to release steam when NRC officials reported the plant was in stable condition and operating normally on the back up generators.

The  EPA radnet radiation monitors in the area, which display radiation data controlled and supplied by the government, has not  shown any radiation spikes in the areas surrounding the epicenter of the earthquake.

The original  Mineral Virginia earthquake has been followed by four aftershocks so far. Experts warn that aftershocks continued for weeks  following the 5.9 earthquake that hit nearby Blacksburg in 1897.

The following aftershocks have been officially reported by the USGS.

At 2:46:50 pm, a 2.8 magnitude aftershock was felt in Louisa. According to the USGS, the epicenter was five miles southwest of the Town of Mineral and approximately one mile from the center of the original earthquake (37.931°N, 77.935°W). Read the USGS report on the first aftershock here.

At 3:20:26 pm, a 2.2 magnitude aftershock was recorded approximately eight miles southwest of Mineral. Read the USGS report here.

At 8:04:36 pm, a 4.2 magnitude aftershock once again hit near the Town of Mineral. According to the USGS, the epicenter was approximately six miles south of Mineral along Route 522/Cross County Road (37.917°N, 77.891°W). You can find the USGS report on the strongest aftershock so far, here.

At 12:45:26 am Wednesday, a 3.4 magnitude aftershock was recorded seven miles south of Mineral (37.925°N, 77.994°W). It had a depth of three miles. Information on the fourth aftershock can be found here.

Here’s a recap of reported damages, injuries and disruption cited from the CNN article quoted above.

A strong earthquake in Virginia shut down a nearby nuclear power plant Tuesday afternoon and sent out seismic waves felt by millions from Georgia to northern New England. Three aftershocks were reported by Tuesday evening.

-No major injuries or extensive damage were reported after the 5.8-magnitude earthquake.

-The quake prompted evacuations of office buildings and the precautionary closing of monuments in the nation’s capital.

– A surge in calls by cell-phone users after the event affected service in many areas,

– Most federal buildings in Washington had reopened by late Tuesday afternoon

– The U.S. Capitol was cleared for employees to come back to get their belongings, for a limited time.

– Conflicting reports on Washington Monument leaning.

– Helicopter inspection initially reported monument structurally sound.

– Secondary inspection revealed cracking in the stones at the top of the monument.

– Washington Monument grounds reopened with 100 foot exclusion zone outside the plaza.

– The Lincoln and Jefferson memorials reopened Tuesday evening.

– Witnesses reported a number of buildings were evacuated as far away as North Carolina and New York/

– The quake, which was recorded at 1:51 p.m., was shallow — just 3.7 miles deep

– The magnitude was initially reported as 5.8, then revised to 5.9, and then revised again back to 5.8.

– Relatively minor damage in a few Virginia counties, including Louisa, nearest to the epicenter.

– Several school buildings had damage, as did town hall buildings, and an unspecified number of minor injuries reported in the Louisa county.

– Knocked down two chimneys at parcel-shipping business in Louisa county.

– A 5.9 event occurred in 1897 near Blacksburg which was followed by weeks of aftershocks

– Three 5- to 8-foot pinnacles broke from the central tower at Washington’s National Cathedral where other pieces that broke and fell on the surrounding lawn.

– Smithsonian Institution suffered cracks in interior walls

– The geography of the Eastern Seaboard, an underlying bedrock which is largely a solid sheet, helped transmit the shock from the Carolinas to New England.

– Eastern Seaboard geology causes a lot more travel out of earthquake waves than in California

– Shockwaves extended to downtown New York, where court buildings were evacuated.

– Quake felt across New York city but no reports of injuries and “virtually no reports of damage.”

– Quake felt on the island of Martha’s Vineyard, where President Barack Obama was playing golf, but Obama did not feel the earthquake

– Eearthquake slowed but didn’t halt major transportation services.

– Service at major airports initially disrupted by resumed normal operations 75 minutes after the earthquake struck.

– John F. Kennedy International Airport and Newark-Liberty International Airport, control towers were evacuated

– Amtrak resumed service between Washington and Baltimore at normal speeds following inspections.

 

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