Dominion Energy, Virginia’s largest utility company, is seeking approval from federal regulators to continue operating its two nuclear reactor units in Louisa County until the years 2058 and 2060.
The Richmond-based company said Friday it has filed an application with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to renew the North Anna Power Station’s operating licenses for additional 20-year terms.
An approval of the license would allow the company to operate the two reactors beyond a current license extension that was granted in 2003, which enabled the company to run the reactors until 2038 and 2040.
The original licenses for the two North Anna reactor units were granted in 1978 and 1980. As with all U.S. nuclear power plants, the original licenses were granted for 40 years.
“Our application to renew North Anna Power Station’s licenses for another 20-year period is good news for our customers, the regional economy, and the environment,” said Dan Stoddard, Dominion Energy’s Chief Nuclear Officer, in a statement on Friday. “Our customers will benefit from continuing to receive safe, reliable, affordable, and carbon-free electricity from the station through 2060.”
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Dominion has said for several years that it intended to seek a license renewal for North Anna, but a spokesman for Dominion said the company only recently entered the period when it could file for renewal because the original license for the North Anna Power Station Unit 2 would have expired this year.
In 2018, Dominion filed a similar application to renew the licenses of its two Surry Power Station units in Surry County. That application is still under review.
A spokesman for the NRC said the agency’s staff has an 18-month goal for completing a review of a subsequent license renewal once the agency accepts an application.
To get a renewal, Dominion has to provide information to the NRC on how it will account for the effects of aging on the plant’s components and systems, the NRC spokesman said. The company also must provide information on environmental impacts for an additional 20 years of operation.
Dominion is estimating that it will invest $2 billion to $4 billion over the 20-year period in its Surry and North Anna plants, a company spokesman said. The company has obtained a construction and operating license for a third unit at North Anna, but it has no plans at this time to build one.
If the NRC staff finds Dominion’s application acceptable for review, the agency will notify the community of an opportunity to request a public hearing, the spokesman said.
The application has not been made public yet. The NRC staff will conduct an initial review and ensure that protected information such as security-related information is redacted before the application is made public.
Two other nuclear reactor plants in the U.S.—the Turkey Point Nuclear Generating Station in Florida and the Peach Bottom Nuclear Generating Station in Pennsylvania—already have received a second renewal for their reactor licenses.
The North Anna Power Station is capable of producing electricity for 473,000 homes in Virginia. Combined, the Surry and North Anna plants produce 31 percent of the electricity for Dominion’s 2.5 million customers and 95 percent of the carbon-free electricity in the state, the company said.