Following the 5.9 magnitude earthquake in Virginia this afternoon, two nuclear reactors were automatically taken offline, while twelve additional plants declared an "unusual event" according to officials from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Tuesday. The plant that houses the two nuclear reactors, the North Anna Power Station in Virginia, lost offsite power, which triggered four diesel generators to maintain its cooling operations. Adding to difficulties, one of the four diesel generators failed, NRC public affairs officer Joey Ledford tells The Atlantic Wire. So how are these plants designed to overcome an earthquake and what's the status of each one? Here's the latest on how the quake affected the country's nuclear power plants
Is everything okay? "As far as we know, everything is safe," said Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokesman David McIntyre. Ledford said teams are on site to assess any potential damage and will report back. He said one of the diesel generators had failed because of a coolant leak but that the other three generators could keep the reactor cool indefinitely and there was no major emergency. Besides the failed diesel engine, Ledford said "everything is operating as you would expect after an earthquake of this magnitude. There are no problems with the plant's major safety systems."