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North Anna Nuclear Power Station To Face Additional Federal Oversight

AP  |  By Posted: 05/14/2012 3:21 pm

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Dominion Virginia Power will face additional federal oversight at its North Anna Nuclear Power Station in central Virginia because of a safety violation related to its emergency diesel generators, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said Monday.

Federal regulators said inspectors found that a gasket failure prevented one of the four diesel generators from performing its function following the August 5.8-magnitude earthquake. The failed gasket was not caused by nor related to the earthquake. While the gasket was replaced the same day, inspectors found the plant did not have adequate procedures for installing it.

Richmond-based Dominion discussed the issue with federal regulations in April. The NRC has deemed it a "white" violation, or being of low to moderate safety significance. The NRC evaluates performance at commercial nuclear power plants with a color-coded system that classifies findings as green, white, yellow or red, in increasing order of safety significance.

Dominion spokesman Rick Zuercher said the energy provider isn't challenging the NRC's findings but said the issue never posed any public threat and that maintenance procedures have been improved at the plant about 40 miles northwest of Richmond.

Additionally on Monday, the NRC said that after meeting with Dominion, it found no violation at the company's nuclear power plant in Surry.

The NRC had said last month that inspectors found Dominion failed to provide appropriate maintenance procedures for a standpipe that indicates coolant levels in one of the reactors at its Surry plant during maintenance activities. In a letter to Dominion on Monday, regulators said that the basis for the preliminary finding and apparent violation described in the inspection report are "no longer valid."

Dominion Virginia Power is a subsidiary of Dominion Resources Inc., one of the nation's largest producers and transporters of energy. It serves retail customers in 15 states and has the nation's largest natural gas storage system.

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Michael Felberbaum can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/MLFelberbaum.

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Filed by James Gerken  |