Friday, September 30, 2011

NRC Issues Press Release Concerning North Anna Re-Start

The following press release was just issued by NRC.


The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has informed Dominion Generation, operator of the two-reactor North Anna nuclear power plant near Louisa, Va., of actions that must be completed before the agency will authorize the restart of the plant. The plant shut down safely following the Aug. 23 earthquake near Louisa.

“We’re reviewing Dominion’s information to ensure North Anna’s systems will be able to keep the public safe and the plant won’t start up again until we’re satisfied on that point,” said Eric Leeds, director of the NRC’s Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation. “We’re working diligently on coming to a technically sound decision.”

The NRC has issued Dominion a Confirmatory Action Letter, which reiterates that since the Aug. 23 earthquake exceeded design parameters for North Anna, the plant will remain shut down until Dominion demonstrates “to the Commission that no functional damage occurred to those features necessary for continued operation without undue risk to the health and safety of the public.” The letter then lays out the next steps in the restart process, starting with Dominion submitting documentation responding to all NRC questions regarding restart safety.

“Inspectors from the NRC Region II office and other agency experts will conduct additional onsite inspections at North Anna to verify that adequate actions have been taken in response to the Confirmatory Action Letter,” said Victor McCree, administrator of the NRC’s Atlanta office.

The NRC will also complete a safety evaluation regarding restart. The NRC’s directive will remain in effect until the NRC is satisfied Dominion has demonstrated the plant is safe to operate; at that point the agency would issue written permission for Dominion to restart the plant. North Anna Unit 2 is currently in a refueling outage and is shut down for refueling and associated maintenance.

More details as we get them.

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