Report: US quake rattled nuclear plant's waste casks

September 1, 2011 09:10

WASHINGTON - The earthquake that shook the US East Coast last week rattled huge, heavy casks holding radioactive nuclear waste at a Virginia plant, moving them as much as 4.5 inches (11 cm) from their original position, the plant's operator has said.

The 5.8-magnitude quake shifted 25 casks, each 16 feet (4.9 meters) tall and weighing 115 tons, on a concrete pad at Dominion Resources Inc.'s North Anna nuclear plant in Virginia, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported on Wednesday, citing company officials.

"They just moved because of the vibration," Dominion spokesman Rick Zuercher said. "They remained upright and fully intact." Officials from the company and the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission were not immediately available for comment.

The North Anna plant, located about 12 miles (19 km) from the quake's epicenter near Mineral, Va., has been shut down since the Aug. 23 quake as inspectors check for damage. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is doing a special review because of preliminary data showing that shaking from the quake exceeded the plant's design rating.

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