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Official Wants Study of Quake Risks at Nuclear Plants

Thu, 11/08/2012 - 12:02pm
RAY HENRY,Associated Press

ATLANTA (AP) — The new chair of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission says she supports a push to re-evaluate the earthquake risks at nuclear power plants.

NRC Chairwoman Allison Macfarlane said this week that a spate of natural events shows the industry needs to re-evaluate geologic risk. In 2011, a massive earthquake and tsunami severely damaged the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant in Japan, leading to multiple meltdowns.

The North Anna nuclear plant in Virginia was struck by an earthquake last year that caused peak ground movement at twice the level at which the plant was designed. No major damage or complications were reported. A re-evaluation of seismic hazards is under way in the United States.

Macfarlane said the events show the nuclear industry has to update its understanding of earth processes.

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