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Seismic Protection at Nuclear Energy Facilities

The nuclear energy industry continues to take steps to enhance the safety of America’s reactors. As part of the response to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s post-Fukushima requirements, companies that operate nuclear energy facilities are re-evaluating the earthquake potential at their sites using the latest data and methodologies. The owners of all plants east of the Rocky Mountains submitted their re-evaluations to the NRC on March 31. Those for sites in the West are due in March 2015.

Nuclear energy facilities have substantial protection against earthquakes. Their design and construction provide substantial safety margin enabling plant systems and structures to withstand significant forces such as those caused by earthquakes.

NEI's Kimberly Keithline talks about how U.S. nuclear power plants are some of the most robust structures ever built and are able to protect against earthquakes. View the Seismic Protection at U.S. Nuclear Plants playlist for more.

Aspects of seismic protection include:

  • safety factors applied to reactor design
  • conservative requirements in engineering codes and standards
  • specific requirements for the strength of steel and concrete used to build the plants
  • periodic seismic reviews by the industry and the NRC.

For more information on seismic issues, review the following:

If you would like to speak to a seismic expert, please contact NEI's media team at or 202.739.8000.