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5.8 Magnitude Earthquake in Virginia, USA, Nuclear Plant Shut Down

Courtesy US Geological Survey

A 5.8 magnitude earthquake struck Virginia in the United States on Tuesday 23rd August 2011 at 13:51 local time. The epicentre of the quake was 6km below the Earth’s surface.

North Anna Power Station in Virginia

Dominion Virginia Power’s North Anna nuclear power station is on alert, the second lowest of the four emergency classifications of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

The company stated that the reactor at North Anna shut down automatically after the quake and no damage was found. Diesel generators provided power to the station while off-site power was unavailable. One generator failed and was replaced while inspectors visited the Lake Anna Dam to check for damage.

Dominion took pains to reassure the public that the problems experience by Fukushima Daiichi were not being repeated on the US East coast: “No release of radioactive material has occurred beyond those minor releases associated with normal station operations.”

Airport control towers and state parks were evacuated after the quake but re-opened after no major incidents or injuries were reported.

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