Dominion Energy Virginia notified the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) of its intent to relicense North Anna Power Station in Louisa County, VA, for an additional 20-year term.

The company informed the NRC 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.

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“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,” said Daniel G. Stoddard, chief nuclear officer for Dominion’s nuclear generation division. “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.”

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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 submittal 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 relicensing process.

North Anna Power Station is 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. Unit 1 began commercial service in 1978 and Unit 2 began commercial service in 1980.

Surry Power Station is 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. Unit 1 began commercial service in 1972 and Unit 2 began commercial service in 1973.

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 of operation on March 20, 2003, following a review process authorized under federal law. The North Anna and Surry nuclear units’ respective licenses currently will expire in 2038 and 2040, and 2032 and 2033. After renewal, the respective licenses for North Anna and Surry will allow the units to operate to 2058 and 2060, and 2052 and 2053.

Dominion Energy also operates two nuclear units at its Millstone Power Station in Waterford, CT.

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.

The North Anna plant is the same facility where federal inspectors found shortcomings with an equipment replacement after an August, 2012, earthquake forced the facility to shut down. 

Inspectors flagged the plant after finding a gasket failure prevented one of its emergency diesel generators from working properly. Workers replaced the gasket the same day, but the NRC said the utility company didn’t have adequate procedures for installing the part.

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