Share This Page

Earthquakes could affect Beaver Valley nuke plant more than first thought

| Tuesday, April 22, 2014, 12:01 a.m.

Earthquakes could affect the Beaver Valley Power Station more than engineers thought when they built the plant's two nuclear reactors in the 1970s, according to a review that regulators ordered because of the Fukushima disaster in Japan.

The initial review completed this spring found no reason for immediate concern at the plant in Shippingport, owner FirstEnergy Corp. said.

The company has until the end of the year to determine if it should make safety changes while it completes a more detailed analysis of whether the plant and equipment can withstand the higher level of potential ground movement, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said.

“We don't expect to have to make any modifications,” said FirstEnergy spokeswoman Jennifer Young. She said the plant was built with a safety margin to withstand ground-shaking above estimates.

The commission in 2012 ordered nuclear plant operators to use updated data from agencies such as the U.S. Geological Survey to re-evaluate seismic hazards because of the disaster that an earthquake and tsunamis caused in Japan. Young said the data included newly discovered faults and calculations on potential hazards of known faults.

Operators in the eastern and central parts of the country had to submit initial reviews by March 31. Those reviews found the need for further study at Three Mile Island near Harrisburg, Peach Bottom in York County and at plants in New York, Massachusetts and New Hampshire, the NRC said.

The agency said it conducted seismic inspections at all plants immediately after Fukushima.

David Conti is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-388-5802 or dconti@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.