Plant Vogtle made a federal list of 21 nuclear reactors east of the Rocky Mountains that are vulnerable to earthquakes and need to conduct detailed analyses explaining their ability to withstand damage from seismic activity.
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission is requiring Plant Vogtle in Burke County to submit a detailed risk analysis by June 30, 2017. An expedited review is required by this December to make sure the plant about 30 miles south of Augusta could safely shut down after an earthquake.
The requirements are part of ongoing work by the NRC after the Fukushima nuclear meltdown in Japan. New models of seismic activity showed that earthquake risks beyond the West Coast are more threatening than was understood when many nuclear power plants were built in the 1970s and 1980s.
The NRC reviewed reports from 59 nuclear reactor sites in the central and eastern U.S. with updated earthquake hazard information. A prioritized list of reactors needing further analysis was released Friday.
“We’ve examined this information to see how a plant’s new quake hazard compares to the ground movement that the plant’s original design process considered,” said Eric Leeds, the director of the NRC’s Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation, in a news release. “We’re closely following the industry’s response, and we’re confident the plants are safe to continue operating.”
If the expedited safety review due in December shows that equipment needs to be updated, the work must be completed by December 2016.
Other reactors facing scrutiny include Plant Hatch in Baxley, Ga.; Catawba Nuclear Station in York, S.C.; Oconee Nuclear Station in Seneca, S.C.; Robinson Nuclear Plant in Hartsville, S.C.; and V.C. Summer Nuclear Station in Jenkinsville, S.C.