Parts of York County and the surrounding region shook from Saturday's 3.4-magnitude earthquake in Lancaster County, but neither of the area's two nuclear plants sensed vibrations, a U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokesman said Sunday.

The Three Mile Island nuclear plant is roughly 30 miles west of the earthquake's epicenter just outside Manheim. The Peach Bottom power station is about 35 miles south.

Both facilities are equipped with seismic monitoring equipment, NRC spokesman Neil Sheehan said.

More than 4,700 reports of the earthquake surfaced in the immediate area and from as far away as Chester County and Baltimore, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The quake occurred just after midnight.

"We're continuing to monitor for seismic activity," Three Mile Island spokesman Ralph DeSantis said.

DeSantis and Peach Bottom spokeswoman Bernadette Lauer said officials from their facilities have conducted inspections to ensure no damage occurred to the structures or components.

"They're designed to withstand these events," DeSantis said. "They're very strong buildings."

Lauer said Peach Bottom power station officials will also track the area's seismic activity.

Sheehan said safeguards for major earthquakes include the shutdown of the plants after an earthquake crosses a certain threshold.

"Basically, we require that (the facilities) are designed this way," he said.

Sheehan's agency also reviews the seismic qualifications of nuclear power plants to make sure they reflect the latest data.

Some in Goldsboro, a York County borough just across from Three Mile Island, said they weren't concerned about the threat of earthquake-induced failure.

"I honestly don't think about it anymore," said Paula Waters, a Cumberland County resident who helps run Reeser's Store in Goldsboro. "Things have been pretty normal lately."

The Goldsboro home of Dee McElroy is in the shadows of Three Mile Island's cooling towers, but the resident is another who said she isn't concerned about the nuclear plant.

McElroy, the deputy communications officer for Goldsboro's emergency management team, believes enough safeguards are in place to prevent an earthquake from causing a nuclear disaster.

Otherwise, "I'd be trying to get out of town," she said.
epaik@ydr.com; 771-2001

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