Consumers Group Wants Dominion to Stop Work on Proposed Nuclear Reactor

North Anna nuclear plant

A Virginia consumer group is asking state regulators to halt construction on a planned nuclear reactor until plant owner Dominion Virginia Power gets formal approval.

The Virginia Citizens Consumer Council (VCCC) filed a petition with the Virginia State Corporation Commission saying work on the North Anna 3 reactor is “unlawful” and Dominion Virginia Power needs approval.

“While Dominion claims that North Anna 3 is needed for compliance with the federal Clean Power Plan, it would be far costlier than the low-carbon alternative of combined renewables, demand-side management, and efficiency … Dominion has not complied with Virginia law by failing to seek SCC approval before making expenditures on project development and beginning preliminary construction of North Anna 3,” according to the petition.

Dominion Spokesman David Botkins said the utility disagrees with the contention and has no plans to move forward with North Anna 3 until a combined construction and operating license (COL) is granted from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which is expected sometime in 2017. Even then, receipt of the license does not guarantee Dominion will build the reactor, but gives the option to build.

“Renewable energy – wind and solar, etc. – is important to Dominion in meeting customers’ power needs and the company has been aggressive in pursuing developments of these assets,” Botkins said. “These forms of generation cannot provide electricity 24-7, but are limited to when the sun shines and the wind blows.

“Nuclear is the only large and dispatchable source of always-on electricity that does not emit carbon-dioxide or other emissions associated with burning fossil fuels,” Botkins continued.

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