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Dominion talking to US NRC about license extensions for four nuclear units


Dominion is in early discussions with the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission for 20-year license extensions for its four nuclear units serving Virginia customers, Thomas Wohlfarth, the company's senior vice president for regulatory affairs, said Thursday.

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The four units are located at Dominion's two Virginia power stations, Surry and North Anna.

Receiving the extensions would bode well for the development of a third unit at North Anna, Wohlfarth said during a State Corporation Commission hearing on the utility's integrated resource plan, which was webcast.

If plants that were built in the 1970s can run for 80 years, then a newer unit could be modeled to run for 80 or 100 years, he said.

The integrated resource plan calls for the potential development of another 1,375-MW combined cycle gas-fired unit and three combustion turbines that would add 1,371 MW of gas-fired generation.

But the company is interested in adding more diversity in its fuel mix. A more expensive fuel diversity plan includes the development of North Anna-3, which has the earliest in-service date of October 2024.

The license extension for the four nuclear units, plus North Anna-3, would give the company a more diverse fuel mix, Wohlfarth said.

Dominion plans to make a decision on whether to build North Anna-3 after it receives a combined operating license in early 2016, but Thomas Farrell, the company's CEO, wants to go forward it the unit, Wohlfarth said.

"He said he has a strong view of a balanced portfolio and in his mind, from the company's perspective, it will come when North Anna-3 is built," Wohlfarth said.

Farrell understands that the State Corporation Commission must approve the unit, he said.

--Mary Powers,
--Edited by Annie Siebert,