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Published: Monday, 8/29/2011

Government amps up inspection at Va. nuclear plant

Earthquake may have exceeded plant’s design


WASHINGTON — The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is sending additional inspectors to the Virginia nuclear power plant closest to the epicenter of last week’s earthquake.

The agency says it now appears the 5.8-quake exceeded the ground motion the two reactors were designed to handle.

The North Anna plant is located about 12 miles from the epicenter of the earthquake that struck northwest of Richmond, Va., last Tuesday. The plant temporarily lost power as a result of the quake but there was no significant damage to safety systems. The NRC said Monday the additional inspection should not be interpreted to mean the plant is less safe.

Dominion, the plant’s operator, notified the NRC Friday that its analysis of ground shaking showed the quake could have exceeded its design.

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