CIGRE’s global earthquake experience provides the answer

David Roop, Director – Electric Transmission Operations & Reliability, Power Delivery Group, Dominion Energy explains how CIGRE membership provided a direct route to solving a challenging and unusual problem.

“In 2011 a 5.8 Magnitude earthquake struck the east coast of the United States, disrupting power to one of our nuclear power stations. Before we could safely and successfully restart our facility we had to ensure we understood and corrected all possible failure modes. The trouble was that this was the first recorded earthquake that had impacted our service area in our hundred year history.

To start we researched the frequency of the shock and aftershocks, making comparisons with other U.S experiences. We found that our experience was not the same as on the west coast of the U.S. due to rock and soil formation. However, there were similarities with the shock frequency seen in New Zealand and Japan. We reached out to our CIGRE colleagues in those countries to see if we could meet to learn from their experiences.

As luck would have it there was a Colloquium the next month scheduled in Japan, so we arranged to meet at this event to go over our findings and to get their advice on what else we should consider. At a subsequent meeting in Kyoto, Japan we developed a comprehensive list of items we should consider and conveyed them to our workforce back home. This checklist proved invaluable – some areas we thought would be okay were now reviewed and weaknesses were indeed discovered and corrected. This international collaboration enabled us to repair and return to service our facility successfully, without any additional outages occurring from unknown defects.”