Dominion checks safety after plant restart

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – The Dominion North Anna Power Station is back up and running.  Dominion restarted one reactor Friday.

NBC12 was given special access to an exact replica of the control room for unit one at the North Anna plant. We got a rare inside look at the process and safety measures taken as operators restarted the reactor.

The all-clear from the government body in charge of all nuclear power plants wasn't easily accomplished. It's been almost two and a half months since North Anna was hit hard by the 5.8 quake.

"We are convinced that there was no hidden damage," explained Site Vice President Larry Lane. "We are convinced that there wasn't anything other than cosmetic damage. There was simply no functional damage to the units."

Dominion has performed 100,000 work hours and spent about $21 million to get the National Regulatory Commission's permission to restart.

Before both plants get to 100% power in a little over a week, there are many stop points and tests along the way. The plant is monitoring itself for any safety issues but if an operator notices anything questionable, he can trip the reactor with one switch.

Unit one probably won't be online and sending power to the grid until Monday morning. When Dominion sees that reactor is stable, it will also restart unit two.

"We will have a start up team on site 24/7," Lane said. "This is an additional twenty-something individuals and they will be dedicated to monitoring and looking at the systems."

Dominion has also agreed to analyze the plant's ability to withstand future seismic events.

It will take ten days for both units to be at 100% power.

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