This is our quick plain language summary of the NRC meeting with the Dominion North Anna Nuclear; a follow-up is planned.
Based on limited, incomplete, and sometimes contradictory earthquake data, combined with visual "if it looks good, it IS good" inspections; North Anna nuclear believes they have no real damage and that they only need to follow minimal procedures to restart the facility.
Several of the lower level NRC engineers and geologists saw the obvious issues with Dominion's position and asked questions which highlighted the 'iffy' nature of their calculations and overall thrust.
I project that the lower level NRC engineering concerns will not translate up to NRC management because the cost of performing true diligence will be too great for Dominion to restart that plant.
The NRC also seemed to indicate they have no concerns with radioactive ground water contamination occurring at levels other nuclear plants have experienced.
Its clear to me that it will be quantitatively impossible for North Anna Nuclear to establish what level of earthquake the nuclear plant will be able to survive in the future. I wager that the primary hope is that there will be no new such earthquake for at least 100 years, and that a New Madrid quake would have only minimal effect in the current period.
Its also clear to me that North Anna gambled that the Nuclear Plant would survive Hurricane Irene despite raw data that would indicate it was a risky gamble. I also question if North Anna did not do their own immediate analysis of the earthquake monitoring equipment because the results would have put onus on them to evacuate the area in response to the incoming hurricane projections.
Based on these opinions, I WOULD NOT WANT TO LIVE NEAR NORTH ANNA. I would not want to be the guinea pig proving that 'low level radioactive leakage" and some subtle current damage would not lead to catastrophic failure in the near to medium term future. It is a gamble which North Anna can afford because they are protected by governmental regulations from the market forces that would require large insurance premiums for that plant to restart. If North Anna screws up, its the Public that is hurt and it is the Public which will cover the governmental insurance bailout.
If we want North Anna to be safe the NRC is NOT the answer. The answer is removing Dominion North Anna Nuclear from the public corporate welfare Nuclear insurance teat and having them seek and pay for their own operating insurance. No insurance company in its right mind would insure North Anna and its current plans/approach; only the government is that careless.
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