Earthquake Report: Concern for Nuclear Power Reactors

nuclear_power_illustrationI experienced the 5.9 earthquake, which struck the East Coast this afternoon. Thinking I was dizzy at first, I suddenly realized that everything was moving, not just me, and subsequently learned that it was one of the most major quakes to strike the eastern U.S. in a long time. It was centered in Virginia, about 90 miles south of Washington, D.C.  The first thing which entered my mind was the fact that four old and large nuclear power reactors are located not far from the epicenter -- North Anna I and II in Louisa, Virginia, and Surry Power Station Units 1 and 2 in Surry, Virginia. These four commercial reactors, managed by Dominion Generation, are all 800-1,000 megawatts, and were all first licensed more than three decades ago (1972-1980); their licenses have all been renewed through 2032-2040. Although initial news reports indicate that no damage was done to the reactors, they've reportedly been shut down in the immediate aftermath of the quake. Let's hope that the quake doesn't repeat the Fukushima disaster of last March. The Fukushima meltdowns developed slowly after the Pacific earthquake and tsunami as cooling water leaked from the reactors and spent fuel pools.  As we all follow the news closely from Virginia, this is a reminder of the definite dangers of nuclear power -- and our commitment to safe and clean energy alternatives.