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Nuclear Energy Institute
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 23, 2011
Contact: media@nei.org, 202.739.8000 or 703.644.8805 (after hours and weekends)

Nuclear Energy Institute Comments on Today's Virginia Centered Earthquake

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Nuclear Energy Institute’s senior vice president and chief nuclear officer, Tony Pietrangelo, made the following comments today about the earthquake that was centered in central Virginia:

“Based on all information we have thus far, the systems at every U.S. nuclear energy facility where the earthquake’s effects were felt responded as designed. The facilities either shut down safely or are continuing to safely generate the electricity that helps sustain our nation’s economy, run our air conditioners and power the electronics equipment upon which Americans rely.

“Per procedures and training, qualified personnel at affected facilities are conducting walk-downs and visually inspecting safety-related structures and components for indications of damage that might have resulted from the earthquake. We do not have any reports of such impacts at this time. We do know that at the facility closest to the earthquake’s epicenter—the North Anna power station near Richmond, Va.—the facility’s two reactors shut down safely and, in the absence of off-site power, the plant’s emergency diesel generators activated as designed and are powering safety systems until the off-site power supply is restored.

“U.S. nuclear energy facilities have been tested repeatedly by Mother Nature this summer, with tornadoes in the Southeast and record flooding in Nebraska. They have successfully met these challenges because plant personnel are fully trained and proficient in their duties within a multi-layered protective strategy that has multiple defenses to ensure safety even in the face of extreme events.”