Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Seabrook Nuclear Plant Not Impacted by New England Earthquake

The USGS is reporting that a minor earthquake struck Maine near the town of Lake Arrowhead shortly after 7:00 p.m. this evening. The nuclear power plant closest to the epicenter of the quake, Seabrook, which is in the midst of a refueling outage, declared an unusual event in response. The following is an official statement from NextEra Energy, the owner of the plant:

This evening, by procedure, Seabrook Station declared an unusual event due to the seismic activity felt throughout the region. An unusual event is the lowest of four Nuclear Regulatory Commission emergency classifications.

The plant has been and is currently shut down in a planned refueling outage. There has been no impact to the plant from the earthquake and our outage activities have not been affected in any way. We expect to exit from the unusual event shortly.

By way of background, Seabrook is designed to withstand the strongest earthquake ever experienced in New England, and then some.
Thanks to the team at NextEra Energy for getting out the word.

8 comments:

jim said...

Too bad the media (mis)uses these event reports as if to say "We're reporting that the nuclear plant was slightly less dangerous and hazardous today only because it wasn't operating during the quake -- Thank God."

James Greenidge
Queens NY

Anonymous said...

Please stop over-generalizing about media coverage of nuclear power. I know it's a pet target of the right, but as usual you're long on criticism, short on proof.

Can you link some articles saying what you claim they said? I'll check back.

Mary Ellen said...

So exactly what was the design basis earthquake that Seabrook is supposed to be able to withstand without releasing materials off site..other than of course their ongoing NRC approved releases.

Mary Ellen said...

Your story peaked my interest!

So exactly what was the level of earthquake that Seabrook is supposed to be able to withstand without releasing materials off site..other than their ongoing NRC approved releases.
How much more is Seabrook designed to withstand than the earthquake history suggests?
Exactly what in a nuclear facility needs to meet seismic standards.
Who sets seismic standards, and on what data is this standard set?

What is expected to happen if a quake exceeds the design basis of a plant?
What specific parts are most vulnerable, and which would cause the greater damage to the plant, to environment and people on site and off site?

Await your reply, links to sources that can answer questions your article inspired, or elucidating comments from other readers..

Anonymous said...

Mary Ellen, this page from the NRC provides good info for your questions.

Anonymous said...

Still waiting to see links to some of those alleged horribly biased media stories on this? I'm not seeing them.

Anonymous said...

That version of the NRC fact sheet on seismic issues is way out of date. The agency is now requiring US nuclear power plants to update their seismic assessments in the wake of new data from the US Geological Survey and the Fukushima I accident in Japan. Here's a more recent version. http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/fact-sheets/fs-seismic-issues.html

Anonymous said...

Sorry, that's the same fact sheet link. Here are details on the seismic assessments: http://pbadupws.nrc.gov/docs/ML1205/ML12053A340.pdf