November 28, 2007
RICHMOND, Va. – Dominion (NYSE: D), one of the nation’s largest energy producers, announced today that it has filed an application with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission for a license to build and operate a new nuclear reactor at its North Anna Power Station in central Virginia.
If built, the new reactor would add to Dominion’s position as one of the nation’s top nuclear operators. The company owns and operates four nuclear power stations with a capacity to produce 5,726 megawatts of emissions-free electricity.
The application filed with the NRC is for a Combined Operating License (COL) for North Anna Unit 3. The company has not committed to build the new unit, but wants to maintain the option to do so to meet projected skyrocketing demand for electricity in Virginia in the next decade.
"This is a significant milestone in our effort to maintain the option to use safe, reliable and environmentally friendly nuclear energy to meet customer demand in the future," said Thomas F. Farrell II, president, chairman and chief executive officer. "Our Virginia customers are projected to need at least 4,000 megawatts of additional electric capacity during the next decade. This will require a balanced mix of conservation, new generation and new technologies to meet this demand."
The company has partnered with GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy and Bechtel Corp. on the 1,520-megawatt project, which could generate enough electricity for 375,000 homes at peak demand in Virginia. The GE ESBWR is an advanced Generation III+ design that incorporates a combination of reactor passive safety features, plant security and economic, reliable operation. The North Anna site will be the reference site for demonstrating the ESBWR technology.
Dominion has a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy to share equally the cost of the COL. The company expects it will cost about $500 million to complete all of the necessary work to be able to build the unit. The maximum expense to Dominion will be $60 million. Partners will provide the balance. If the company decides to build a new unit, the earliest it could begin commercial operation would be 2015*.
"As the third complete license application for a new nuclear power plant submitted in less than three months, today's announcement by Dominion demonstrates continued momentum for the expansion of safe, emissions-free nuclear energy to power a secure and affordable energy future," Assistant Secretary of Nuclear Energy Dennis Spurgeon said, following Dominion's news conference this afternoon. "Through cooperative partnerships with industry, loan guarantees and tax incentives, this Administration is providing sound policy to pave the way for a nuclear renaissance."
North Anna Power Station presently has two pressurized water reactors capable of generating 1,806 megawatts net of electricity, which is enough electricity to power about 451,500 homes at peak demand. Unit 1 began commercial operation in 1978 and Unit 2 followed in December 1980. North Anna is located in Louisa County, Va., about 60 miles northwest of Richmond. The Old Dominion Electric Cooperative, which is a wholesale power supplier to 12 electric cooperatives, owns 11.6 percent of North Anna’s total generation, including Unit 3 if it is built.
The NRC on Nov. 20 granted an early site permit to Dominion for North Anna, deciding that the site is suitable to support an additional reactor. An Early Site Permit provides a 20-year option for Dominion to consider nuclear among other potential generation sources.
Additional information about today’s announcement and materials distributed at the news conference can be found at http://www.dom.com, keyword "NA3."
Dominion is one of the nation's largest producers of energy, with a portfolio of approximately 26,500 megawatts of generation. For more information about Dominion, visit the company's Web site at http://www.dom.com.
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* View a revised timeline.