21 Oct '11, 10pm

After a Quake, 2 Yardsticks for Nuclear Inspectors

Brendan Hoffman for The New York Times The North Anna nuclear plant in Virginia after the East Coast quake of Aug. 23. Once the dust had settled after the Aug. 23 earthquake centered in Mineral, Va., the tweet-length description of the problem at the North Anna nuclear plant was that the ground motion was bigger than what the reactors were designed to deal with, which is highly unusual. But in more than 100,000 hours of inspections , only cosmetic damage has been found, engineers say. The quake’s severity had mostly been judged by a regulatory standard for a quake’s ground motion known as “safe shutdown earthquake,” and the shaking in one direction on Aug. 23 exceeded that level. But at a two-hour briefing of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Friday, commission members, staff engineers and executives of the plant owner, Dominion, discussed whether a different yardstick ...

Full article: http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/10/21/after-a-quake-2...

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