Wednesday 17 January 2018

US quake raises fears of Fukushima-like disaster

Toby Harnden in Washington

THE earthquake that shook America's east coast on Tuesday has highlighted fears of a Fukushima-like disaster after two nuclear reactors near the epicentre were taken offline by safety systems.

The North Anna Power Station in Virginia was 10 miles from the quake's epicentre. In March, a report claimed the station would not be able to survive an earthquake of the 5.9-6.1 magnitude. Tuesday's quake was a 5.8.

A 2009 report by the US Geological Survey warned that the southern states would be unable to cope with a major earthquake. There are 15 nuclear power plants within the "New Madrid" fault line, but the area would be unable to ride out a major quake, the report claimed.

The earthquake even led to a historic meeting of Congress -- the first non-ceremonial session outside the chambers since 1814. Senator Chris Coons, who was presiding, announced that the Senate would remain in recess until Friday.

Another natural disaster may be looming on the east coast. Hurricane Irene, a category 3 storm, could be a "big threat" to areas including New York this weekend, the National Hurricane Centre said. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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