Latest reports on North Anna nuclear plant

LOUISA, VA (WWBT) - It's back in operation, but is the North Anna Nuclear Plant safe after last summer's historic earthquake? Residents still want to know and Tuesday night, they got a chance to speak with regulators at the power station's annual assessment meeting.

Many are rebuilding, now eight months after the earthquake, but several residents say they're having a hard time building confidence in the safety of the North Anna Nuclear Plant. It's located not far from the August earthquake's epi-center.

"This seems to be the worst place to put and operate a nuclear power plant," Chris Dorsey told regulators Tuesday night.

Officials say it meets regulations. And even though the earthquake registered higher than what the plant was designed to withstand, officials say nuclear power plants are rarely built to a minimum standard-- that there was some margin for a larger seismic event.

But we did ask officials checking for safety point-blank, is the plant safe for those living nearby?

Roger Hannah, with the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission says, "Absolutely. If the North Anna Nuclear Plant were not safe, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission would not allow the plant to operate."

We asked Jerry Bishof, Vice President of the North Anna Power Station, "Are you comfortable that this site is safe moving forward if there were to be another earthquake?"

He told us, "Absolutely!"

Then he told us, he moved his family nearby the plant.

Those guarantees are enough to convince neighbor Michael Rigdon. He lives two miles from the plant and is also a former nuclear engineer for another company.

"People that live across the street have no reason to worry about anything," said Rigdon.

"We want to be sure that the plant is operated safely. That's our goal and that's what our inspectors do on a daily basis," said Hannah.

Officials tell us regulations regarding power plants are being re-assessed after the earthquake and flooding in Japan.

They say it could lead to more stringent regulations for power plants in the future, and that Lake Anna will be a focal point of research because of the earthquake nearby.

To read some full reports from the NRC, click here and then click on North Anna Unit 1 or North Anna Unit 2 to see the research.

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