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U.S. nuclear plants in S. Carolina, Missouri face the highest quake risks: report via Reuters

By Timothy Gardner

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. nuclear power reactors facing the highest risks of a meltdown from earthquakes are not in tremor-prone California, but states including South Carolina and Missouri, an analysis of government data published on Thursday said.

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The U.S. reactor facing the highest risk is Duke Energy Corp’s H.B. Robinson near Hartsville, South Carolina, according to the analysis hereby the Union of Concerned Scientists.

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Robinson faces a one in 7,700 chance annually that a quake would cause a meltdown, said the analysis, based on Duke’s estimates submitted to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). That risk is five times higher than for each of PG&E Corp’s two Diablo Canyon reactors, the only ones left in California. Those reactors are scheduled to be shut in 2024 and 2025.

The three reactors at a Duke plant called Oconee in Seneca, South Carolina, face a one in 17,500 chance of a meltdown annually, according to the analysis.

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Ameren Corp’s Callaway reactor in Fulton, Missouri faces a one in 13,800 chance of a meltdown annually, the analysis said. Barry Cox, the site vice president at Callaway, said the plant invests millions of dollars on protections against earthquakes and other natural disasters.

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