During the August 2011 earthquake that rattle the east coast, including parts of the Washington, D.C. metro area, the North Anna nuclear plant in central Virginia experienced peak ground movement at twice the level for which the plant was designed. While there were initial concerns related to structural integrity at the facility, no major damage or complications were reported.
In April that same year, a massive earthquake and tsunami severely damaged the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan, leading to multiple meltdowns.
Allison Macfarlane, the new chair of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, says that the rash of natural events shows the nuclear industry needs to better study geologic risk. Macfarlane also says the events show the industry has to update its understanding of earth processes.