North Anna license renewal arguments to be aired

January 29, 2021, 7:00AMNuclear News

An aerial view of the North Anna nuclear plant. Photo: Dominion Energy

A Nuclear Regulatory Commission Atomic Safety and Licensing Board will conduct an “oral argument” via WebEx early next month regarding a petition to hold a hearing on North Anna’s subsequent license renewal (SLR) application, the agency announced yesterday.

ASLBs conduct adjudicatory hearings on major licensing actions by the NRC. Their rulings may be appealed to the commission.

The SLR application, submitted by Dominion Energy last August, was docketed by the NRC in October. The petition objecting to it was filed in December by three antinuclear organizations—Beyond Nuclear, Sierra Club, and Alliance for Progressive Virginia.

On February 4, beginning at 2 p.m. Eastern time, the ASLB will address a rule waiver request from the groups, as well as the admissibility of their proposed contention. The board will entertain comments from representatives for the petitioners, Dominion, and NRC staff.

The contention: Beyond Nuclear et al. claim that Dominion’s environmental report, submitted in support of its application, “fails to satisfy” the National Environmental Policy Act, as well as certain NRC regulations, “because [the report] does not address the environmental impacts of operating North Anna Units 1 and 2 during the extended SLR term under the significant risk of an earthquake that exceeds the design basis for the reactors.”

You’re on mute: Interested parties can access the event, which is listen-only, by dialing 888-469-1755 and entering the passcode 9150039, followed by the “#” sign.

Background: Located in Mineral, Va., the North Anna plant houses twin 973-MWe three-loop Westinghouse pressurized water reactors. Units 1 and 2 started commercial operation in 1978 and 1980, respectively. In March 2003, the NRC approved the reactors’ initial license renewal, allowing Unit 1 to operate through April 1, 2038, and Unit 2 through August 21, 2040.


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