NRC officially drops enviro review of prior North Anna Unit 3 design

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) said in a notice to be published in the Jan. 29 Federal Register that it is withdrawing the intent to prepare a supplemental environmental impact statement (SEIS) published in 2011 due to a change in reactor design by Virginia Electric and Power d/b/a Dominion Virginia Power.

The SEIS was to address any impacts that would have resulted from a change in the reactor technology referenced in the North Anna Power Station (NAPS) Unit 3 Combined License (COL) application. The intent to prepare a SEIS is being withdrawn because of the applicant’s decision to return to the original reactor design, as referenced and evaluated in an earlier SEIS for the NAPS.

The decision to prepare a SEIS was based on Dominion’s decision to change the referenced reactor technology from the Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor (ESBWR) design, to the U.S. Advanced Pressurized Water Reactor (USAPWR). This change in reactor technology by Dominion occurred after the NRC staff completed its environmental review of the COL application.

In February 2011, the NRC published a notice of intent to prepare a supplemental EIS and conduct scoping in conjunction with its review of a revised application submitted by Dominion for a COL to build and operate a new reactor at its NAPS site located in Louisa County, Virginia. The purpose of the February 2011 notice was to inform the public that the NRC staff intended to prepare a supplement to the COL SEIS pertaining to the change in the reactor design. In the proposed SEIS for the US-APWR technology, the staff intended to identify any significant changes to the previous evaluation of environmental impacts that could arise from the applicant’s switch to this reactor design. By letter dated April 25, 2013, Dominion notified the NRC that it planned to revert to the ESBWR technology for its North Anna COL application.

Dominion completed revisions to its COL application, including the necessary revisions to its environmental report (ER), to once again reference the ESBWR and submitted the revised application to the NRC by letter dated Dec. 18, 2013. The ESBWR was certified by the NRC on Sept. 16, 2014. The final rule for the design certification was published on Oct. 15, 2014. 

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.