On Tuesday, the largest earthquake to hit the east coast of the US for decades caused the North Anna nuclear-power station in central Virginia it to lose electricity and automatically shut down. It declared an “alert” status, the second lowest of four emergency situations.

Jim Norvelle, director of media relations for Dominion Resources Inc., operator of the North Anna plant, said the switch yard was inspected and it is believed that problems there caused the nuclear plant to lose access to grid power. When the plant lost access to grid power, it automatically shut down.

“As far as we know, everything is safe,” said Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokesman David McIntyre.

In related news, 12 additional nuclear plants in Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, North Carolina and Michigan declared the lowest of four emergency situations.

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