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 Maine earthquake prompts ‘unusual event’ at Seabrook nuclear plant

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PostSubject: Maine earthquake prompts ‘unusual event’ at Seabrook nuclear plant   Thu Oct 18, 2012 7:05 am

Maine earthquake prompts ‘unusual event’ at Seabrook nuclear plant





Posted on October 18, 2012


October 18, 2012New Hampshire An “unusual event” indeed. The 4.0 magnitude
earthquake that rumbled across the Seacoast and beyond Tuesday evening
triggered normal safety protocols at the Seabrook Station nuclear power
plant. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission declared an “unusual event” —
NRC-speak for the lowest of its four levels of emergency classifications
— at 7:20 p.m. Tuesday. The declaration was prompted by on-site ground
motion resulting from an earthquake centered near Hollis, Maine — about
50 miles from the plant. “There was absolutely no impact to the plant
from the earthquake,” said Al Griffith, spokesman for NextEra Energy,
the plant’s owner. Griffith said a series of mandated safety checks were
conducted at the plant, concluding at 1:49 a.m., some six and a half
hours after the tremor. Citing the “robustness” of the plant’s design,
Griffith assured that it is capable of withstanding a far, far greater
impact than Tuesday’s quake. There are seismic monitors on site and
Griffith said officials will be conducting “a very thorough examination
and analysis of all of our data.” An NRC resident inspector assigned to
Seabrook responded to the site last night to confirm that there were no
immediate safety issues at the plant, which is currently shut down for a
scheduled refueling and maintenance outage. “The reactor was fully shut
down at the time the earthquake occurred,” said Neil Sheehan, regional
public officer for the NRC. “Following procedures used when there is
seismic activity affecting the plant, NextEra personnel conducted
initial walkdowns, i.e., visual inspections, and confirmed that all key
safety systems were functioning properly and that there was no
significant structural damage,” Sheehan said in a statement. “The
company will subsequently gather more seismic data and perform more
detailed inspections.” Asked about the need to be vigilant in preparing
for and reacting to any seismic activity, particularly in the wake of
the March 2011 disaster following an earthquake and tsunami at the
Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant in Japan, Sheehan said, “What happened at
Fukushima served as a vivid reminder” of why the highest safety
protocols are put in place and enforced. Last April, NextEra Energy
conducted a tsunami drill Tuesday at the Seabrook Station plant in order
to identify strengths and weaknesses of the plant in case of such a
disaster. –Sea Coast On-line


Thanks to: http://theextinctionprotocol.wordpress.com


  

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