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US / NRC Considers Hearing For North Anna Licence Renewals

By David Dalton
12 January 2021

NRC Considers Hearing For North Anna Licence Renewals
The North Anna nuclear power station in Virginia. Photo courtesy Dominion.
The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission has established an Atomic Safety and Licensing Board to consider whether a hearing is needed on Dominion Energy's licence renewal application for the North Anna nuclear power plant in Virginia, the American Nuclear Society reported.

Groups requesting the hearing say the application for extending the life of North Anna Units 1 and 2 does not address concerns over earthquake-related safety risks.

The 71-page hearing request was filed by three anti-nuclear groups – Beyond Nuclear, the Sierra Club, and the Alliance for a Progressive Virginia. It argues that Dominion’s environmental report, submitted in support of its application, “does not address the environmental impacts of operating North Anna Units 1 and 2 during the extended term under the significant risk of an earthquake that exceeds the design basis for the reactors”.

The licence renewal application was submitted in August 2020. Dominion said the renewals would allow the station’s two Westinghouse pressurised water reactor units to operate through to 2060.

North Anna-1, a 948-MW PWR, began commercial operation in June 1978 and North Anna-2, a 944-MW PWR in December 1980.

North Anna is the second nuclear facility in Virginia to seek subsequent license renewal. In 2018, Dominion filed an SLR application for its two Surry units. The NRC is currently reviewing that application as well.

According to Dominion, the North Anna and Surry units produce 31% of the electricity for the company’s 2.5 million customers and 95 percent of Virginia’s carbon-free electricity.

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