Charlottesville Breaking News
After the nuclear catastrophe that followed the earthquake and tsunami in Japan last spring, some Central Virginia activists cautioned that a similar nightmare could unfold right here at the Dominion-operated North Anna nuclear generating plant in Louisa County. Despite Dominion's assurances that the plant made it through the August 23 earthquake unscathed, activists contend that the quake, which measured 5.8 on the Richter Scale and had an epicenter just eleven miles from the plant, may have been more catastrophic than anyone is admitting. New information bolsters their fears.
On Monday, August 29, the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission announced that the quake may, in fact, have produced force that exceeded the North Anna plant's specifications and that the Commission is sending a special Augmented Inspection Team to assess the damage.
"Initial reviews determined the plant may have exceeded the ground motion for which it was designed," says the release, which also assures that "no significant damage to safety systems has been identified."
That's small consolation to one prominent nuclear watchdog, who says it's not what's above ground that gives him the greatest concern.
"Central to the issue is mil...
Irene may have stood us up, attracted as she was to the coast and the mountains of Vermont (Hey, prayers for those affected by the rains up there, and for those all along the East Coast who weren't as fortunate as we were), but it looks like some local restaurants and eateries got into the hurricane spirit! Indeed, some notable establishments even invented their own spirits...
Over at Mas they concocted a "Hurricane Punch" made with rum, more rum, some kind of juice, triple sec and grenadine. At Mono Loco they offered a cryptic message on their FB page, "Eat, drink, and be merry…" Indeed, according to bartender Ben Louquet, who also happens to be a Hook ad rep, Mono Loco's own 'Hurricane' special may have done more damage than Irene. His windy brew called for dark rum, light rum, Cointreau, passion fruit, orange juice, lime juice, agave nectar, and raspberry puree.
Down at Camino on Market Street they also had a Hurricane punch that packed a wallop with Myers rum, light Bacadi, orange juice, fresh lime, and grenadine.
"It was such a hit on Friday night that we had to go get more rum," says Camino's Drew Hart. "But curiously, after that, no one ordered one. I guess by Saturday night everyone was already sick of the hurricane, and on Sunday I talked to a bunch of people who said no one went out at all."
Still feeling multiple aftershocks every day? Friends saying you're dreaming? You may not be, according to a top earthquake scientist, who says that there have been "more than 100 aftershocks."
Bill Leith, the acting senior advisor for earthquake hazards for the U.S. Geologic Survey, say that Central Virginians will continue to feel about a dozen aftershocks per day in the immediate future. At press time, the Survey's website listed 19 quakes of 2.0 and above since the 5.8 whopper on August 23, and sensitive devices are registering many more.
"These aftershocks are going to go on for weeks and months," says Leith, adding that the magnitudes with diminish over time.
How about another big one?
"We can't rule out another large aftershock," says Leith, "but the probabilities are low."
Original August 27 headline and posting:
Irene-schmirene: We've had TEN aftershocks
Irene has just begun its Charlottesville sprinkling, but the hurricane has begun weakening and steering east, and folks in Louisa County are still reeling in the aftermath of the earthquakes that have hammered their houses and schools. According to a Friday damage report by government officials, they've already tallied about $7 million in damage– and that doesn't even include the two public schools that'll be closed f...