North Anna 3 Proposal Clears Safety Assessment

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) said Thursday that its staff had cleared the North Anna site near Mineral, Virginia, on safety concerns for a proposed new nuclear power reactor. In issuing its Final Safety Evaluation for the site, the NRC said there were no safety aspects that would preclude issueing the license for the combined construction and operation of the proposed reactor.

North Anna NPPThe site is adjacent to two operating reactors at a location 40 miles northwest of Richmond, Va., which are run by owner/operator Dominion Generation.

The safety evaluation and the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement on the proposal will be presented to the Commission for a mandatory hearing phase, as part of the licensing process. That hearing is to take place “later this year,” the NRC said. This involves an examination on NRC staff viewpoints following which the Commission will vote on whether or not to authorize a combined license for the project.

Dominion Virginia Power submitted its application for the proposal in November 2007. The proposal calls for an Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor that would compliment the two existing power plants, both of which are Pressurized Water Reactors.

Unit 1 at the site has a renewed license that is scheduled to expire April 1, 2038. Unit 2, which began operations in 1980, has an renewed license that expires August, 21, 2040.

In May, 2016, Dominion Virginia Power told state regulators that it intended to invest further in developing a third reactor for North Anna, although it expected to slow down spending while the federal Clean Power Plant (CPP) remained in limbo.

While the uncertain fate of the CPP made it hard to justify a full throttle on the project, for the same reason – the uncertainty over future carbon-free policies or incentives – it was necessary to keep the project's prospects viable, the company said.

As of May, 2016, the company expected that it will have spent $647 million developing North Anna 3.

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