Dominion still eyes 3rd reactor after partner loss

AP News
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Posted: Mar 01, 2011 10:00 AM
Dominion still eyes 3rd reactor after partner loss

Energy company Dominion Resources Inc. says it has not changed its plans for a potential third nuclear reactor at its North Anna Power Station despite a partner's decision to withdraw from the project.

Richmond-based Dominion said late Monday that Old Dominion Electric Cooperative, which provides wholesale power to 11 member distribution cooperatives in Virginia, Maryland and Delaware, has decided to pull out of the project to build the new unit at the company's Louisa County power plant.

Old Dominion Electric Cooperative, based in Glen Allen, said the proposed nuclear reactor project does not fit with its long-term plans. It owns an 11.6 percent share in Dominion's two current nuclear units at the North Anna facility about 60 miles north of Richmond. That stake is unaffected.

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission is currently reviewing Dominion's application to build and operate the new reactor, but the company has not yet made a decision on when and if it will build it. Dominion expects the federal agency, which is holding a hearing on the application on Thursday, to make a decision on the combined operating license in 2013. It also would need approval from the Virginia State Corporation Commission.

Last year, Dominion selected Mitsubishi Heavy Industry's Advanced Pressurized Water Reactor technology for the potential unit.

If the third nuclear reactor is built, it would help Virginia address a substantial electric power shortfall it faces over the next 10 years "safely and reliably while producing virtually no greenhouse gases," Dominion CEO Thomas F. Farrell II said in a statement.

Dominion had said it would need to build another power source if the third unit isn't built.

The possible third reactor has been opposed by several environmental groups, who say that another reactor is unnecessary at a time when utilities should be exploring alternative energy sources and that it would present a new target for terrorists.

The Lake Anna area, where the power station is situated, is bordered by Spotsylvania, Louisa and Orange counties. Surrounded by thousands of homes, it is a recreational draw in central Virginia.

Dominion produces electricity, natural gas and oil and has the nation's largest natural gas storage system. It serves retail customers in 14 states.