Two nuclear reactors taken offline after Virginia quake

Tuesday, August 23, 2011 | 2:13 p.m. CDT; updated 2:24 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, August 23, 2011

RICHMOND, Va. — Federal officials said two nuclear reactors at the North Anna Power Station in Louisa County, Va., were automatically taken off line by safety systems around the time of Tuesday's earthquake.

The Dominion-operated power plant is being run off of four emergency diesel generators, which are supplying power for critical safety equipment.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokesman Roger Hannah said the agency was not immediately aware of any damage at nuclear power plants in the Southeast. The NRC and Dominion are sending people to inspect the site.

Hannah said he knows of no other shut reactor but that unusual events were reported at a dozen other plant sites.

Louisa County is about 40 miles northwest of Richmond.

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Elaine Hartley August 24, 2011 | 11:19 a.m.

This is an
important story since there is so much danger from crumbling nuclear power
plants on the east coast as well as elsewhere in the US. However, I wonder
why your paper is ignoring another and equally important story which is
currently unfolding in Washington DC. A Canadian oil company wants to build
a pipeline from Alberta, Canada across the United States to the Gulf of
Mexico to carry their super toxic tar sands oil. An ongoing protest is
occurring in front of the White House as I write, designed to stop the
Keystone XL Pipeline's construction. More than 150 people have been
arrested and 2,000 have pledged to be arrested. The burning of tar sands
oil is considered to be an environmental disaster of epic proportions. Many
consider burning this fuel to constitute an "end game" scenario in the fight
against global warming. We will have lost. Obama can stop this pipeline
without congress by denying the permit. This pipeline is only one of many
already planned. This is the only planet we have. We need to stop burning
fossil fuels and using nuclear power to boil water. Our lives depend upon

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield August 24, 2011 | 11:51 a.m.

"We need to stop burning fossil fuels and using nuclear power to boil water."

So what are you using instead?

(Report Comment)
mike mentor August 24, 2011 | 4:08 p.m.

"So what are you using instead?"

Flux capacitor ?

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking August 24, 2011 | 6:56 p.m.

Elaine Hartley wrote:

"there is so much danger from crumbling nuclear power
plants on the east coast as well as elsewhere in the US"

The actual risk is quite a bit less than getting hit by lightning. Cars kill twice as many people in a day than have been killed in nuclear power accidents in its entire history. So has wind power.

"super toxic tar sands oil"

Tar sands oil is no more toxic than any other heavy oil.

"More than 150 people have been
arrested and 2,000 have pledged to be arrested."

First things first. All of those people got to the capital using oil, many in private automobiles. This pipeline would not have to be proposed if we used oil more efficiently.

So where are the protests to raise taxes on fuel, stop building new roads, and generally get people out of their cars? They don't happen. Why? Because the protesters are as in love with their cars as the rest of US society. And their leaders know that protesting cars reduces their cash flow.

Drive, drive, drive.

"We need to stop burning
fossil fuels and using nuclear power to boil water."

Fossil fuels and nuclear are completely different animals.

There is a large difference in the amount of CO2 the a nuclear plant makes over it's lifetime, and a coal or gas plant makes (per energy unit). Depending on who you read (peer-reviewed stuff, not Scientific American), total life cycle emissions from nuclear plants are 1/16th to 1/40th of that of a similarly sized coal plant. They compare very favorably with solar and especially wind, which uses thousands of times the concrete and hundreds of times the steel that a comparable (in energy output, not peak power output) nuclear reactor uses.

We will not meet climate targets without expanding our use of nuclear power. If climate change is important to you, you should support more nuclear, as well as other alternatives to oil, coal, and natural gas. And of course, using less. Much less. This is another little thing that professional activists don't like to tell people. You don't get donations by telling Americans they have to do with less.


(Report Comment)

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