December 31, 2009 / 1:49 PM / 11 years ago

No damage to US Southwest reactors from quake

* Workers felt quake at nuclear power plant in Arizona

* No damage to Palo Verde, San Onofre or Diablo reactors

NEW YORK, Dec 31 (Reuters) - A moderate earthquake that rattled both sides of the U.S.-Mexican border caused no damage to nuclear power plants in nearby Arizona and California.

However, workers at the Palo Verde nuclear plant in Arizona, about 50 miles (80 km) west of Phoenix, felt the 5.8-magnitude quake on Wednesday, the plant’s owner told the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

The earthquake did not register on the plant’s seismic monitoring equipment.

The 3,872-megawatt plant declared an unusual event, which is the lowest of the NRC’s four emergency classifications. Workers found no unusual conditions or damage to plant equipment.

The earthquake struck Wednesday near the Mexican border city of Mexicali, the capital of the Mexican state of Baja California, about 200 miles (321 km) southwest of the Palo Verde site. [ID:nN30153974]

All three reactors at Palo Verde continued to operate at full power throughout the event.

The next closest nuclear plant, San Onofre, which is located along the California coast between Los Angeles and San Diego, did not issue any reports to the NRC. One reactor at San Onofre continued to operate at near full power (99 percent), while the other has been shut since late September for planned refueling and steam generator replacement.

The Diablo Canyon nuclear plant on the California coast between Los Angeles and San Francisco did not issue any reports to the NRC either. The two reactors at Diablo Canyon continued to operate at full power.

Palo Verde plant is owned by Arizona Public Service, a unit of Pinnacle West Capital Corp (PNW.N). (Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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