Could a nuclear plant survive a direct hit by a tornado?

KGO AM in San Francisco just ran a piece about the Surrey tornado that contained some disturbing quotes:


(SURRY, Va.) — Electricity was lost at a Virginia nuclear power plant that was brushed by an apparent tornado, but officials say the situation is safe.

The twister hit the Surry Nuclear Plant’s switchyard connecting it to off-site power, but the plant’s two reactors were untouched.

“No one really knows what would happen if a very powerful tornado hit a nuclear power plant directly,” said nuclear policy expert and ABC News consultant Joe Cirincione, and that’s because it has never happened before.

Dominion Virginia Power says underground backup generators kicked in, ensuring a constant flow of coolant, and a safe shutdown.

“Unlike the reactors at Fukushima, many of the backup power systems at U.S. reactors are shielded in one way or another,” Cirincione said, but he warns that even the strongest plant couldn’t withstand a direct hit.



About Robert Singleton

By day, I work for a call center. In my spare time, I try to save my hometown (and planet) from a nearly constant onslaught of greedheads, lunatics and land developers. I live in a fictional town called Austin, Texas, where I go to way too many meetings.
This entry was posted in Event Reports, Reactor problems and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Could a nuclear plant survive a direct hit by a tornado?

  1. Pingback: Is Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant strong enough? - Huntsville-Madison-Decatur area - Alabama (AL) - City-Data Forum

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