Expert: Dominion's scheme for $19.2B nuclear reactor would be "most expensive" in U.S., result in massive pain for Virginia ratepayers

Source: Virginia Citizens Consumer Council

The "abysmally wasteful and unnecessary" plan by the utility Dominion to build a new North Anna 3 nuclear reactor in Virginia would cost twice as much as solar to generate the same amount of energy.

The "abysmally wasteful and unnecessary" plan by the utility Dominion to build a new North Anna 3 nuclear reactor in Virginia would cost twice as much as solar to generate the same amount of energy, fatten profits for shareholders by inflating Virginia ratepayer bills by up to 36 percent (reflecting $6-12 billion in unnecessary costs), and create "the most expensive nuclear reactor ever" in the U.S., according to a leading U.S. nuclear finance expert.

Dr. Mark Cooper, senior fellow for economic analysis, Institute for Energy and the Environment at Vermont Law School, submitted his formal comments on behalf of the Virginia Citizens Consumer Council (VCCC) in the matter of Dominion Virginia Power's Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) now pending before the Virginia State Corporation Commission.  The comments by Dr. Cooper are available online at

In his analysis, Dr. Cooper concludes: "North Anna 3 is unreasonable, unnecessary, inefficient and wasteful and should be removed from Dominion's Integrated Resource Plan. Dominion is incorrect in asserting that North Anna 3 is needed to satisfy the requirements of the (EPA) Clean Power Plan. To the contrary, a combination of renewables, demand side management, and efficiency can not only provide equivalent capacity, but also the same level of excess capacity …"

Dr. Cooper continues: "The current projected cost of North Anna 3 is astounding: approximately $19.2 billion.  Overnight costs alone -- i.e., the cost of construction without finance costs -- are about $9,000/kw, making North Anna 3 the most expensive nuclear reactor ever and history teaches us that those costs will rise substantially if Dominion tries to build the reactor."

VCCC President Irene Leech said: "This report confirms some very bad news for Virginia consumers. If Dominion proceeds on this ruinous path it will extract $6-$12 billion in needlessly higher energy bills.  The excessive return on investment for Dominion shareholders and the big banks that finance the debt will be enormous. As if the assault on ratepayers is not bad enough, Dominion also would crowd out renewables, substantially undercutting what solar and other clean energy could do for the state.  The numbers don't lie: Renewables and energy efficiency would be faster, safer, and a lot easier on the pocketbooks of Virginia consumers."

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