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NRC finishes safety review of proposed reactor at Dominion's North Anna site

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has completed a final safety evaluation report for a combined license for Dominion Virginia Power's North Anna 3 nuclear unit near Mineral, Va.

NRC staff concluded that there are no safety aspects that would preclude issuing the license to build and operate the proposed reactor adjacent to two existing reactors. The report and a supplemental environmental impact statement will be forwarded for consideration to the Commission for a mandatory hearing that will take place later in 2017. Following the hearing, the commission will vote on whether to authorize the issuing of the license.

The existing two units at North Anna have a combined capacity of 1,958 MW. A Dominion representative restated recently the utility's position that it has not made a decision to build the new, 1,453-MW reactor, which could cost more than $19 billion. The company estimated it will have spent more than $647 million pursuing the combined operating license by the time it receives the permit.

Dominion Virginia Power submitted in November 2007 its license application to build a simplified boiling water reactor at North Anna. The NRC the same month issued an early site permit for North Anna and followed up with a supplement to the environmental review in March 2010. The NRC certified the design in 2014, and on Nov. 15, 2016, the NRC's Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards submitted to the commission the findings of its independent safety review.

Dominion Resources Inc. subsidiary Dominion Virginia Power is known legally as Virginia Electric and Power Co.