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Dominion to seek second license renewal for North Anna reactors in Virginia

Washington — Dominion told the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission Monday it plans to seek a second 20-year license renewal for its two North Anna pressurized water reactors in Virginia that, if approved, would authorize each unit to operate for a total of 80 years.

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"The company is reviewing all technical aspects associated with the renewal of North Anna Power Station's licenses, and while not yet complete, sees no significant barriers that would prevent a license renewal submittal in 2020," Dominion said in a statement Monday.

This marks the second time in two years that Dominion has said it plans to seek NRC approval of a second, also known as a subsequent, renewal of a reactor's operating license.

In November 2015, the company said it would file the first such application for a US power reactor by the end of the first quarter of 2019 to renew the operating licenses of its two Surry PWRs.

No US power reactor has undergone a subsequent license renewal process at NRC.

Dominion said in the statement it expects to invest up to $4 billion on upgrades to its 2,046-MW North Anna station in Louisa, Virginia, and its 1,751-MW Surry plant in Surry, Virginia, as part of this relicensing process.

The reactors at both stations, like other nuclear units in the US, were originally licensed to operate for 40 years. "All four units' licenses were renewed for 20 additional years of operation on March 20, 2003, following a stringent review process authorized under federal law," Dominion said.

"The North Anna and Surry nuclear units' respective licenses currently will expire in 2038 and 2040, and 2032 and 2033," it said. "After [this second] renewal, the respective licenses for North Anna and Surry will allow the units to operate to 2058 and 2060, and 2052 and 2053."

Separately, Exelon Generation said in June 2016 it plans to seek a subsequent license renewal for its Peach Bottom-2 and -3 boiling water reactors in Delta, Pennsylvania. The utility said it planned to file that application in the third quarter of 2018. If approved, these renewed licenses would expire in 2053 and 2054, respectively.

Operators of about 20 US nuclear power plants are interested in possibly renewing their licenses to operate beyond 60 years, the Nuclear Energy Institute said in May.

--Elaine Hiruo,

--Edited by Keiron Greenhalgh,