The Union of Concerned Scientists released a damning report on the nuclear power plant operated in Darlington, SC by Progress Energy, known as HB Robinson. The same company operates the Southport plant near Wilmington, NC.
The entire report is worth reading as it reveals the plethora of problems which exists in operational plants. None of the problems were disastrous. However, they manner in which the plant operators and regulators handled these issues does indicate how well they might respond to a serious event.
Progress Energy’s H.B. Robinson Plant sits in Darlington, SC, north of the fault zone responsible for the 1886 Charleston Earthquake. While the likelihood of such an earthquake is unknown, there is ample geologic evidence of strong quakes occurring along the Charleston fault. The South Carolina Emergency Management Division maintains an earthquake awareness site here, which links to a 609 page report on the Comprehensive Seismic Risk and Vulnerability Study for the State of South Carolina. Given the demonstrated ineffectiveness of NRC oversight of the Robinson plant under ordinary conditions, we have to seriously question whether Progress Energy, the NRC or the SC government is equipped to cope with a earthquake.