NRC OKs Restart of Dominion’s North Anna Nuclear Power Plant

The NRC is satisfied that the North Anna nuclear power plant in Virginia is safe to restart, almost three months after a nearby magnitude 5.8 earthquake forced the plant to shut down.

The NRC resident inspectors were on-site when the quake occurred Aug, 23, and they monitored the plant’s safe shutdown and performed initial inspections. The NRC sent additional inspectors to North Anna in September and October to gather more information on the plant’s response to the quake.

A team of NRC technical experts has spent the past two months examining those inspection results and additional analysis from North Anna. The team also asked the plant’s operator, Dominion, for more information. The team’s work covered the entire plant, from piping (including buried pipe) to nuclear fuel to pumps, valves and emergency diesel generators.

The NRC’s restart approval isn’t the end of the story, though – NRC staff, including the resident inspectors, will be at the plant around the clock the next few days, observing Dominion’s deliberate steps to bring the plant back to full power. The NRC will also monitor Dominion’s efforts to meet several long-term commitments, including installing better earthquake monitoring equipment and reanalyzing the plant’s ability to withstand future quakes.

The NRC met with the community near North Anna on Oct. 3 to discuss the agency’s first full inspection after the quake, and on Nov. 1 to discuss the restart readiness inspection findings and the staff’s technical review. The NRC also held public meetings at the agency’s Rockville, Md., headquarters Sept. 8 regarding Dominion’s initial assessment, and on Oct. 21 to brief the Commission regarding the plant’s response to the earthquake. Video from both headquarters meetings is available on the NRC’s Webcast archive. The NRC also has a Virginia earthquake Web page with more information about the event and the agency’s response.

Scott Burnell
Public Affairs Officer

Author: Moderator

Public Affairs Officer for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

6 thoughts on “NRC OKs Restart of Dominion’s North Anna Nuclear Power Plant”

  1. The challenge for capitalism is that the things that breed trust also breed the environment for fraud. And Amazon happens to be the best example.

    Amazon maybe the ecommerce giant with wide-ranging investment interests but as far as its social responsibilities are concerned it appears too inconsiderate and insensitive. Amazon is not willing to comply with the legal directives issued by Virginia’s Corporation Commission Staff. According to which Dominion’s proposed power line to Haymarket is for a single customer – Amazon Data Center – and it is this customer who is liable to pay for the line extension, and that placing the 230 KV extension partially underground is the least damaging for the environment and for the residents who live within this area.

    Based on the evaluations of SCC Staff, Dominion Power was unable to justify the need for the project without the Customers request for service to the Haymarket Project. The Staff also emphasized on the fact that the line extension may be viewed as an extension of electrical service to a new customer, therefore, may be subject to cost allocations. According to SCC Staff report, Amazon may have to pay the excess cost, estimated at $115 million.

  2. Regarding NRC’s of Dominion’s long term efforts, I am curious what sort of protocols the NRC is looking for regarding the emergency diesel generators and upgrading that architecture to withstand earthquakes. As we saw from Japan, the diesel generators on-site don’t do you much good if they get completely incapacitated during the quake…and it may not be easy or fast to bring in OTHER diesel generators and get them wired in.

  3. I think it will be best for everyone if we do like Germany and make plan for non-nuclear energy after let’s say 10 years. We all know what disaster happened very recently in Japan and we all fear from same thing. But on other side this restart is very positive for the economy which now is not at its perfect condition.

  4. A really interesting article. Ultimately, anyway, it all comes to nuclear power, whether we like it or not. How else can such a huge demand for electricity at a cheap price also be possible otherwise? Most people lie anyway .. what a moment before they take on eco … in another moment they relate 100% nuclear power!

  5. Sounds like the power plant is ready to move on from this blip. A significant amount of depth is always needed when ensuring safety standards are met for the restart to happen. We can all gain a great amount of confidence when the NRC give it’s approval!

  6. Interesting…the Commissioner of the NRC, Jaczko, on Thursday November 10 at
    about 6:30 said this “…the NRC was close to deciding whether that plant
    (North Anna ) can restart. He said he had not yet seen the final
    recommendations from the NRC staff and that he could not comment further.”
    On November 11 at about 1 PM the NRC issues a press release saying North
    Anna will be restarted.
    He must have read the final recommendations really fast.


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