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Memo says utility, U.S. covered up fault line’s existence via

By: PETER BACQUÉ | Richmond Times-Dispatch
Published: November 06, 2011

Dominion Virginia Power and federal nuclear regulatory staff members covered up knowledge of geologic faulting at the North Anna Power Station site in 1973, according to a U.S. Justice Department memo.

The company, then operating as Virginia Electric and Power Co., or Vepco, told the former Atomic Energy Commission in June 1973 that “faulting of rock at the site is neither known nor suspected,” even though the company knew about the existence of faulting at North Anna, the 1977 memo said.

Earthquakes occur as a result of movement on faults, and quakes can be powerful enough to damage a nuclear power station. Dominion’s two 980-megawatt nuclear reactors at North Anna have been shut down since Aug. 23, when a magnitude-5.8 earthquake hit central Virginia.

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