The east coast received a rare, but powerful earthquake earlier this week, which struck very close to a nuclear power station, causing it to be shut down.
How lucky were we?
The plant was designed and built to withstand a 5.9 to 6.1 magnitude earthquake, and Tuesday’s quake was 5.8. Pretty close.
And after the plant shut down, it lost power, so diesel generators were used to power the cooling system. Recall that it was the loss of power that caused all the damage at the Japanese nuclear power plant when its cooling system failed. And in this case, one of the diesel generators did fail. Luckily another generator kept working.
But what makes this ironic is that seismographs around the plant used to detect earthquakes had been removed … due to budget cuts.
Oh, and there are plans to add a third nuclear reactor at that plant.
UPDATE: The owner of the plant has now notified the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission that last week’s earthquake may have shaken the plant beyond its design levels.