US NRC issues licence for North Anna 3

6 June 2017

The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission said on 31 May that it would issue a combined operating licence (COL) for a proposed third unit at Dominion Energy's North Anna nuclear power plant.

Dominion is seeking to build and operate a General Electric Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor (ESBWR) at North Anna and applied for a COL in November 2007. The NRC certified the design in 2014. NRC determined in January that there were no "safety aspects" that would prevent issuing the licence, including a seismic analysis. NRC imposed conditions, including mitigation strategies and other requirements related to the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi accident.

However, the project faces opposition on both economic and environmental grounds. The Virginia chapter of the Sierra Club wants the project stopped

"In the face of billion-dollar cost overruns and bankruptcies associated with new nuclear reactors in states like Georgia, the North Anna 3 project is a $20bn boondoggle that Dominion must abandon," said Virginia chapter director Kate Addleson. "A high-priced nuclear reactor doesn't make sense when clean energy solutions like solar and wind are the least expensive new forms of energy to install."

Currently around 40% of Virginia's electricity comes from two nuclear power plants at North Anna and Surry.


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