- Dominion Energy announced on Friday it has filed with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for a 20-year extension of its license to operate two generating units at the North Anna nuclear power plant in Louisa County, Va.
- North Anna Units 1 and 2 are currently licensed to operate through 2038 and 2040, having received original licenses in 1978 and 1980, respectively. If renewed, the combined 1.9 GW units would be able to generate carbon-free power until 2058 and 2060, Dominion said.
- Renewing the operating licenses of its Virginia nuclear fleet is key to meeting the state's clean energy goals, the utility said in a statement. Dominion filed a similar application to renew the licenses of two Surry Power Station units in Southeast Virginia in 2018.
Nuclear plants in the United States are initially licensed to operate for 40 years — but as utilities work to meet clean energy mandates, those licenses are now being extended for decades longer. Dominion's renewal filing for the North Anna station makes it the second nuclear plant in Virginia to seek a second 20-year renewal of its unit's licenses, which could see the reactors online for 80 years.
Last year, NRC authorized license renewals for two units of the Turkey Point Nuclear Generating facility in Florida, marking the first time a U.S. reactor's allowable lifespan has been extended from 60 to 80 years.
The Surry and North Anna plants combine to produce 31% of the electricity for its Virginia customers and about 95% of its carbon-free resources in the state, according to Dominion.
Dominion's nuclear resources will count toward its 2045 clean energy goal, according to utility spokesperson Rayhan Daudani. The Virginia Clean Economy Act, passed earlier this year, requires suppliers to generate electricity from 100% renewable energy, though there is a carve-out for Dominion's nuclear plants.
A license renewal would allow the North Anna plant to remain online twice the length of its original authorization, but a comprehensive and stringent review process "assures customers and local communities that the facilities are able to continue to operate in a safe and reliable manner," Dominion said in a statement.
Dan Stoddard, Dominion's chief nuclear officer, said renewing the licenses for both of Dominion's nuclear plants is "critical" to the company meeting the state's requirements for zero-carbon electricity as well as the utility's net zero commitment.
"It also positions Virginia for continued economic growth and will help the Commonwealth remain a leader in the production of clean energy among other states in the mid-Atlantic and South," Stoddard said. Dominion says the renewal will support more than 900 jobs at the station and produce additional economic and tax benefits.