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North Anna Nuclear Generating Station Unit 3, Louisa County, Virginia

STATUS:  In progress with opposition

TYPE: Nuclear

OPPOSITION:  Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League; Sierra Club; People's Alliance for Clean Energy; Nuclear Information Resources Service; Public Citizen

BACKGROUND:  Dominion applied to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for an Early Site Permit (ESP) for a new reactor at its North Anna nuclear power plant in 2003.  The ESP was granted on November 20, 2007.  One week later, Dominion submitted its application for a combined license (COL) for a 1,500-megawatt Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor (ESBWR) designated as North Anna, Unit 3.  This would be the first ESBWR built in the U.S., so specific cost estimates for North Anna Unit 3 are not available, but a single ESBWR at this site is expected to cost between $10 billion.

Proposed plans to add the new reactor brought public protest. Opponents of the proposed reactor, such as People’s Alliance for Clean energy, argued that a third facility would increase the water temperature and decrease the water level, hurting the ecosystem and recreational opportunities. On January 19, 2005, the People’s Alliance for Clean Energy, Nuclear Information Resource Service, Public Citizen and Sierra Club held a protest rally in opposition the plant.

The project has faced initial delays due to negotiations over reactor technology.  Dominion originally planned to use a GE Hitachi design, but in May 2010 switched to Mitsubishi Heavy Industry's Advanced Pressurized Water Reactor.  The Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League challenged this change of design with the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board, arguing that Dominion must start the application process over again.

Dominion is looking to the 2018-2019 timeframe to bring Unit 3 online, if no further delays occur.  License approval could happen by 2011 at the earliest.

SOURCES:   Dominion (http://www.dom.com/about/stations/nuclear/north-anna/north-anna-3.jsp);
NRC (http://www.nrc.gov/reactors/new-reactors/col/north-anna.html);
WTOP.com (http://wtop.com/?nid=600&sid=1920711);
Virginian-Pilot Online (http://hamptonroads.com/2007/11/dominion-files-third-nuclear-reactor-north-anna);
Fredericksburg.com (http://fredericksburg.com/News/FLS/2010/062010/06222010/556682);
Idaho Samizdat (http://djysrv.blogspot.com/2010/05/dominion-choses-mitsubishi-for-north.html).    

Last Updated:  November 8, 2010