Friday, September 9, 2011

North Anna Nuke Plant paid $32,000 fine for definition of 'safe' - no earthquake plan in place

It is North Anna’s second serious brush with quake issues. The first was in 1973, when the company was digging a hole for the foundation of a third reactor that was later abandoned. A visiting geology professor told an executive of the plant operator, then called the Virginia Electric & Power Company, that there was a geologic fault.
The executive let the comment drop, and Virginia Electric told the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that there was no evidence of faults. Eventually it paid a fine of $32,000 for failing to alert regulators promptly; the five-member commission also reprimanded its own staff for moving slowly to bring the information to the attention of the administrative law judges hearing the company’s application for an operating license. The commission ultimately decided that the reactor would be safe.