Amid protest, North Anna nuclear plant to produce electricity Tu - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Amid protest, North Anna nuclear plant to produce electricity Tuesday

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The recently re-started North Anna nuclear power plant is almost ready to start making electricity. But anti-nuclear protesters aren't about to power down without a fight.

North Anna got the green light to re-start Friday, more than two months after the August earthquake led to the first-ever automatic shut-down of a U.S. nuclear plant. Monday, the process remained on schedule, with electricity flowing by Tuesday.

"Things are going very well," said Richard Zuercher of Dominion's Nuclear Public Affairs office.

Zuercher said the 5.8 magnitude earthquake that struck the nearby town of Mineral in August caused only cosmetic damage; a finding that was later verified by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

"We feel like we have been very forthright and honest about this, and the NRC certainly has. And the bottom line is we're not going to operate those units if they're unsafe," Zuercher said.

The nuclear fission process began early Monday morning, on a path toward making electricity by Tuesday. The restart decision is not just generating power, but also angry reaction from anti-nuclear protesters,  whose numbers appeared to be dwindling today.

"This is a crime, what they're doing," said protester Chris Dorsey, who called on state and local prosecutors to go after Dominion on charges of reckless endangerment; a message that was heard by more local news reporters than like-minded protesters.

"I don't know. Maybe that's the public being completely ignorant. I'm not sure why they're not out here," said Dorsey.

So the work at North Anna continues, with each of the two reactors expected online by the end of the week...making enough power to run nearly half a million Virginia homes.

Dominion says it spent $21 million to repair and test the plant following the August earthquake. Still no word on what specific impact that cost will have on customers.

Copyright 2011 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.

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