Environment
1:04 pm
Tue March 12, 2013

Anti-Nuclear Demonstration in Richmond

On the two-year anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan, anti-nuclear demonstrators rallied outside the Richmond headquarters of Dominion Virginia Power. 

The protestors say the Fukushima experience shows that the risk of disaster at nuclear facilities is far too great to keep operating them.  They’re calling on Dominion to close its North Anna and Surry nuclear power stations—and instead use wind, solar, and other renewable resources.

The Fukushima site is still so radioactive that it will be eight years before the melted nuclear fuel can be removed. 

At Dominion’s headquarters, protestor Erica Gray does not want a similar Virginia disaster. She says paying customers should have a voice in the utility’s plans—including the risk they’re willing to assume.  Gray says the 2011 Virginia earthquake caused problems here.  

“North Anna is built on a fault line. The 5.8 earthquake exceeded the plant’s design.  It also moved some of the very heavy concrete casks that the spent fuel is stored in.  Both North Anna and Surry reported tritium leaks," said Gray.

In a written statement, Dominion’s Richard Zuercher maintains that nuclear-generated electricity is safe, reliable, carbon-free, and vital to the state’s economy.  He says the earthquake did not cause any functional damage, but the utility has recently added new measures to the plants’ multiple layers of safety. Zuercher also says the ancient geologic fault line at North Anna is inactive and incapable of causing an earthquake… according to a Nuclear Regulatory Commission seismic expert.