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.

Entergy takes net-zero pledge, teams with Mitsubishi to decarbonize with hydrogen

October 2, 2020, 9:56AMNuclear News

Paul Browning, Mitsubishi Power, and Paul Hinnenkamp, Entergy, sign the joint agreement on September 23. Photo: Entergy

New Orleans–based Entergy Corporation last week announced a commitment to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, joining a growing list of major energy companies to make that promise—including Dominion Energy, Duke Energy, Southern Company, Xcel Energy, and Public Service Enterprise Group. And, like those companies, Entergy says that it sees nuclear playing an important role in the realization of that goal.

Former SCANA exec pleads guilty in Summer fraud case

July 27, 2020, 9:59AMNuclear News

Stephen A. Byrne, former executive vice president of SCANA Corporation, pleaded guilty in federal court on July 23 to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud in connection with the failed $9-billion nuclear-expansion project at South Carolina’s Summer plant.

Byrne, 60, had also been president of generation and transmission and chief operating officer at SCANA subsidiary South Carolina Electric & Gas, overseeing all of SCANA’s nuclear operations, including the construction of the new nuclear units, on which work was stopped in 2017 (NN, Aug. 2017, p. 17).

Santee Cooper, Dominion agree to pay $520 million in Summer suit

July 23, 2020, 9:28AMNuclear News

A circuit court judge on July 20 gave final approval to a $520-million settlement in a class action civil suit brought against Santee Cooper over alleged deceptive business practices involving the failed nuclear-expansion project at South Carolina’s Summer plant.

Santee Cooper was the junior partner to SCANA Corporation’s South Carolina Electric and Gas in the two-reactor project, which was canceled in July 2017 (NN, Aug. 2017, p. 17). In July 2019, SCANA became a wholly owned subsidiary of Virginia-based Dominion Energy (NN, Feb. 2019, p. 15).

According to the lawsuit, brought by ratepayers, Santee Cooper raised rates to cover the increasing costs of the Summer expansion even after becoming aware that the project was no longer viable.

Safety board endorses Surry second license renewal

May 8, 2020, 1:03PMNuclear News

The ACRS supports subsequent license renewal for the Dominion units. Photo: Dominion Energy

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards (ACRS) has issued a report recommending approval of Dominion Energy’s 20-year subsequent license renewal (SLR) application for Surry-1 and -2. The board reached its conclusion during its April meeting, after reviewing both the SLR application and the associated final safety evaluation report. Dominion submitted the application in October 2018.

NRC likely to grant second license renewals

April 16, 2020, 2:14PMNuclear News

Surry Power Station. Photo: Dominion Energy.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission issued its final supplemental environmental impact statement (EIS) on April 6 for Dominion Energy’s subsequent license renewal (SLR) application for Surry-1 and -2, concluding that the potential environmental impacts from continued operation of the units are not substantial enough to prevent the agency from considering issuance of the SLRs. The NRC had issued its final safety evaluation report on the Surry SLR application on March 9, with a similarly positive conclusion.

Utility sets goal of net-­zero emissions by mid-­century

February 12, 2020, 4:38PMNuclear News

Referencing the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, as well as its own “strong history of environmental stewardship,” Dominion Energy on February 11 announced that it is expanding its greenhouse gas emission–reduction goals by pledging to achieve net-­zero emissions by 2050. The new goal covers emissions of carbon dioxide and methane—the two leading greenhouse gases—from the company’s electricity generation and gas infrastructure operations.

“Our mandate is to provide reliable and affordable energy safely,” said Thomas F. Farrell II, Dominion’s chairman, president, and chief executive officer. “We do that every day, all year long. But we recognize that we must also continue to be a leader in combatting climate change. . . . Dominion Energy already has made important progress on emissions. This new commitment sets an even higher bar that I am confident we can, and will, reach. Net-­zero emissions will be good for all of our stakeholders—for our customers, communities, employees, and investors.”