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Changes at power station highlighted

Posted on Thursday, August 22, 2013 at 10:17 am

Since the magnitude 5.8 earthquake that shook the Louisa County community in 2011, a number of changes have been made to North Anna Power Station.

Jerry Bischof, NAPS site vice president, talked to members of the Lake Anna Civic Association during its annual meeting on Saturday, July 27. In addition, he gave an overview of what Dominion has been doing in preparation for possible construction of Unit 3.

“We are now finished physically separating Units 1 and 2 from the location of Unit 3, should we decide to proceed with construction,” he said.  “We had to relocate several of our maintenance buildings and support structures so there is a clear division and any construction activity won’t interfere with the operation of the existing units.”

The relocation has cost the company more than $100 million to date, according to Bischof, but also benefits the station by the fact that several different maintenance facilities were consolidated and upgraded.

In addition to new structures, Bischof said the infrastructure needed to be rerouted to keep it separated as well. He anticipates the buildings will be occupied later this year.

“We have to have the site separation project complete by December 31,” he said.  “We should meet that deadline readily.”

After the earthquake and subsequent tsunami that struck Fukushima, Japan in March 2011, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission set forth new requirements for power stations in the United States. Those regulations became even more important to Central Virginia residents five months later after the Mineral earthquake.

At that time, Bischof explained, North Anna Nuclear Power Station’s safety measures reacted appropriately, automatically shutting down the power station’s operation without incident.  However, because of the meltdown and system failures that occurred in Japan, the NRC now requires additional backup systems to ensure safety.

“We have increased our training for our personnel and have added new systems to help us maintain safety while cooling the reactors if necessary,” Bischof said. “We also now have regional centers with additional equipment that can be flown or brought in quickly if we need it.”

To read the entire story, see the Aug. 15 edition of The Central Virginian.