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DC quake turns off two nuclear reactors

Published time: August 23, 2011 19:12
Edited time: August 23, 2011 23:12
Two nuclear reactors at Lake Anna went offline

Two nuclear reactors at Lake Anna went offline

Tuesday afternoon’s 5.8 earthquake caused two nuclear reactors at a power plant outside of Washington DC to go offline.

The facilities at Lake Anna, roughly a dozen miles away from the epicenter of today’s quake in Virginia , was rated by the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission as the seventh most “at risk” plant of its type for earthquake damage according to a report released this March. That analysis took into account the 100-plus power plants from coast-to-coast and rated the Virginia site’s odds of experiencing a quake around 1 in 22,727.

Jim Norvelle of Dominion Power added to the report, published by NBC, that the plant was built to withstand a magnitude of 5.9 to 6.1. Today’s quake was originally rated a 5.9 before being downgraded to 5.8.

Meanwhile, in the Washington DC area, cell phone networks went dark in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, which also saw mass evacuations across the greater DC area. Washingtonians have been warned of aftershocks and damage has been reported in the Capitol Building and DC’s Union Station. Federal buildings in DC were evacuated and employees were told not to come back today.

The quake, whose epicenter is placed at Mineral, Virginia, was felt across the east coast, with reports of tremors stretching from North Carolina to Rhode Island, New York City to Cleveland and even in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.