Skip to main content

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.

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…
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

Popular posts from this blog

A Billion Miles Under Nuclear Energy (Updated)

And the winner is…Cassini-Huygens, in triple overtime.

The spaceship conceived in 1982 and launched fifteen years later, will crash into Saturn on September 15, after a mission of 19 years and 355 days, powered by the audacity and technical prowess of scientists and engineers from 17 different countries, and 72 pounds of plutonium.

The mission was so successful that it was extended three times; it was intended to last only until 2008.

Since April, the ship has been continuing to orbit Saturn, swinging through the 1,500-mile gap between the planet and its rings, an area not previously explored. This is a good maneuver for a spaceship nearing the end of its mission, since colliding with a rock could end things early.

Cassini will dive a little deeper and plunge toward Saturn’s surface, where it will transmit data until it burns up in the planet’s atmosphere. The radio signal will arrive here early Friday morning, Eastern time. A NASA video explains.

In the years since Cassini has launc…

How Nanomaterials Can Make Nuclear Reactors Safer and More Efficient

The following is a guest post from Matt Wald, senior communications advisor at NEI. Follow Matt on Twitter at @MattLWald.

From the batteries in our cell phones to the clothes on our backs, "nanomaterials" that are designed molecule by molecule are working their way into our economy and our lives. Now there’s some promising work on new materials for nuclear reactors.

Reactors are a tough environment. The sub atomic particles that sustain the chain reaction, neutrons, are great for splitting additional uranium atoms, but not all of them hit a uranium atom; some of them end up in various metal components of the reactor. The metal is usually a crystalline structure, meaning it is as orderly as a ladder or a sheet of graph paper, but the neutrons rearrange the atoms, leaving some infinitesimal voids in the structure and some areas of extra density. The components literally grow, getting longer and thicker. The phenomenon is well understood and designers compensate for it with a …

Missing the Point about Pennsylvania’s Nuclear Plants

A group that includes oil and gas companies in Pennsylvania released a study on Monday that argues that twenty years ago, planners underestimated the value of nuclear plants in the electricity market. According to the group, that means the state should now let the plants close.

Huh?

The question confronting the state now isn’t what the companies that owned the reactors at the time of de-regulation got or didn’t get. It’s not a question of whether they were profitable in the '80s, '90s and '00s. It’s about now. Business works by looking at the present and making projections about the future.

Is losing the nuclear plants what’s best for the state going forward?

Pennsylvania needs clean air. It needs jobs. And it needs protection against over-reliance on a single fuel source.


What the reactors need is recognition of all the value they provide. The electricity market is depressed, and if electricity is treated as a simple commodity, with no regard for its benefit to clean air o…