Dominion Energy Virginia To Pursue License Extensions For North Anna NPP

Dominion Energy Virginia said Monday that it had notified the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) of its intent to re-license North Anna Power Station in Louisa County, Virginia, for an additional 20-year term, noting that it had already done the same for the two Surry Power Station reactors.

North Anna NPPThe two North Anna three-loop Westinghouse pressurized water reactors were commissioned in April 1978 and August 1980, respectively, with their current operating licenses expiring in April 2038 and August 2040, respectively. The similar reactors Surry 1 and 2, 17 miles northwest of Newport News, Va., were commissioned in May 1972 and January 1973. Their licenses, renewed in 2003, expire in May 2032 and January 2033.

Licenses for the North Anna units were also renewed in 2003.

Dominion Energy Virginia, which is owned by Dominion Energy, said the license extensions "will continue to benefit from the safe, reliable, and carbon-free electricity the station produces for decades to come."

The company informed the NRC Monday that it expects to file a license renewal application for its two-unit North Anna Power Station in 2020. The company informed the NRC in November 2015 that it would file a similar application to renew the licenses of its two Surry Power Station units in the spring of 2019.

After renewal, the respective licenses for North Anna and Surry will allow the units to operate to 2058 and 2060, and 2052 and 2053.

Daniel G. Stoddard, chief nuclear officer for Dominion's nuclear generation division, stated:  "Renewing North Anna Power Station's licenses for a second 20-year period is the right thing to do for our customers, the regional economy and the environment," Stoddard said. "The planned relicensing of North Anna and Surry ensures that the benefits of these clean energy sources will continue to provide affordable, reliable, carbon-free electricity to our customers through the middle of the century. Our nuclear power stations have proven to be among the most-efficient and most-reliable sources of electricity in our fleet.

"The operation of North Anna and Surry also positions Virginia for economic growth. It directly supports more than 2,000 high-paying jobs in Virginia and produces additional economic and tax benefits. Their continued operation will go a long way toward meeting and maintaining both federal and state goals for lowering carbon emissions in the Commonwealth."

The company is reviewing all technical aspects associated with the renewal of North Anna Power Station's licenses, and while not yet complete, sees no significant barriers that would prevent a license renewal from being submitted in 2020. The letter of intent is necessary so the NRC can plan its staffing needs to support the license renewal effort. The company expects to invest up to $4 billion on upgrades to North Anna and Surry as part of the re-licensing process.

North Anna Power Station is located in Louisa County, Va. Its two nuclear units – both three-loop Westinghouse pressurized water reactors – provide 1,892 net megawatts of electricity, or enough power for 473,000 homes.

Surry Power Station is located in Surry County, Va. Its two nuclear units – also three-loop Westinghouse pressurized water reactors – provide 1,676 net megawatts of electricity or enough power for 419,000 homes. 

Like all U.S. nuclear units, the North Anna and Surry units were originally licensed to operate for 40 years. All four units' licenses were renewed for 20 additional years in March 2003, following a stringent review process authorized under federal law. 

Dominion Energy also operates two nuclear units at its Millstone Power Station, located in Waterford, Conn. In 2005 the company renewed the station's operating license for one 20-year term, which means the current license for Unit 2 will expire in 2035, and in 2045 for Unit 3. Millstone Power Station provides New England and Connecticut with low-cost, carbon-free, around-the-clock electricity. The station's output powers 2 million homes and generates the equivalent of over half the electricity consumed in Connecticut. The company may consider another 20-year renewed license for Millstone, but has made no decision to do so at this time.

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  • This is good news and makes perfect sense. Much less expensive than new-build baseline, even with the engineering and additional license renewal inspections and even if some major component replacement would be necessary (minus the RPV).