US Nuclear Regulator Monitoring Plant after Tornado

April 18, 2011

The U.S. nuclear safety regulator said Monday it was monitoring a Virginia nuclear power plant in southeastern Virginia operated by Dominion Resources after a tornado cut its electrical power.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission said the plant’s diesel generators and safety systems operated as required, and that plant operators have partially restored off-site power to the plants.

Dominion Virginia Power said the two nuclear reactors at its Surry Power Station shut down automatically when a tornado touched down and cut off an electrical feed to the station. The U.S. south was hit by violent storms over the weekend.

No radiation was released during the storm and shutdown, the NRC and the company said.

The situation was described as an “unusual event,” the lowest of the four NRC emergency classification levels.

The nuclear disaster in Japan has raised concerns about the safety of the 104 operating U.S. nuclear power plants and their resiliency to natural disasters like hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes.

(Reporting by Roberta Rampton; editing by Jim Marshall)

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