North Anna Nuclear Generating Station

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North Anna Nuclear Generating Station
North Anna NPP retouched.jpg
North Anna NPP
North Anna Nuclear Generating Station is located in Virginia
North Anna Nuclear Generating Station
Location of North Anna Nuclear Generating Station
Country United States
Location Louisa County, near Mineral, Virginia
Coordinates 38°3′38″N 77°47′22″W / 38.06056°N 77.78944°W / 38.06056; -77.78944Coordinates: 38°3′38″N 77°47′22″W / 38.06056°N 77.78944°W / 38.06056; -77.78944
Status Operational
Commission date Unit 1: June 6, 1978
Unit 2: December 14, 1980
Operator(s) Dominion
Nuclear power station
Reactor type Pressurized water reactor
Reactor supplier Westinghouse
Power generation
Units operational 1,790 MW
(2 reactors)
Units planned 1 x 1,700 MW

The North Anna Nuclear Generating Station is a nuclear power plant on a 1,075-acre (435 ha) site in Louisa County, Virginia, in the Mid-Atlantic United States. The site is operated by Dominion Generation company and is jointly owned by the Dominion Virginia Power corporation (88.4%) and by the Old Dominion Electric Cooperative (11.6%).

The plant has two Westinghouse pressurized water reactors which went on-line in 1978 and 1980 respectively. Together the reactors generate 1.79 gigawatts of power, which is distributed mainly to the greater Richmond area and to Northern Virginia. In March 2003, the NRC approved 20 year license extensions for both Units 1 & 2.[1]

An artificial lake, Lake Anna, was constructed on the North Anna River to provide a reservoir of water coolant for use with the nuclear plant.

Dominion currently owns nuclear power plants in Virginia (North Anna, Surry), Connecticut (Millstone), and Wisconsin (Kewaunee). North Anna is similar in design and appearance to Surry Power Station.

Surrounding population[edit]

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission defines two emergency planning zones around nuclear power plants: a plume exposure pathway zone with a radius of 10 miles (16 km), concerned primarily with exposure to, and inhalation of, airborne radioactive contamination, and an ingestion pathway zone of about 50 miles (80 km), concerned primarily with ingestion of food and liquid contaminated by radioactivity.[2]

The 2010 U.S. population within 10 miles (16 km) of North Anna was 21,396, an increase of 15.7 percent in a decade, according to an analysis of U.S. Census data for msnbc.com. The 2010 U.S. population within 50 miles (80 km) was 1,912,015, an increase of 22.6 percent since 2000. Cities within 50 miles include Richmond (40 miles to city center).[3]

Unit 3[edit]

North Anna is currently going through the lengthy process of obtaining regulatory permission to build an additional unit at the site. Dominion Nuclear North Anna, LLC submitted its application for an Early Site Permit (ESP) for the North Anna site on September 25, 2003. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) issued the ESP on November 27, 2007.[4] On the same day, Dominion submitted an application for a Combined Construction and Operating License (COL) for a 1,520 MWe GEHitachi Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor (ESBWR), designated as North Anna Unit 3.[5]

In 2009, having failed to agree on terms for an engineering construction and procurement deal with GE-Hitachi to actually build the reactor, Dominion issued a new request for proposals from reactor vendors. In 2010, Dominion announced that it had selected a 1,700 MWe, US-specific version of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries' (MHI) Advanced Pressurized Water Reactor (APWR) for the potential Unit 3.[6]

Proposed plans to add a new reactor to the North Anna site have brought public protest. On August 7, 2008 six activists from the Peoples Alliance for Clean Energy were arrested at the North Anna Information Center for trespassing.[7]

On Oct 29, 2010 Dominion president Tom Farrell told investors that Dominion had decided to slow its development of the proposed third reactor and wait until the combined construction permit-operating license (COL) was approved by the NRC before deciding to complete the project. This approval is expected in early 2013.[8]

In 2013, it was announced that the ESBWR design would be pursued after all. Dominion will amend its COL application to reflect the ESBWR technology by the end of 2013 and expects to receive the COL "no earlier than late 2015." Dominion noted that it has not yet committed to building a new unit at North Anna.[9]

Seismic risk[edit]

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission's estimate of the risk each year of an earthquake intense enough to cause core damage to the reactor at North Anna was 1 in 22,727, according to an NRC study published in August 2010.[10][11]

According to the USGS, two distinct seismic zones are located in Virginia. The Central Virginia Seismic Zone and the Giles County Seismic Zone. Both of these zones produce recurrent small earthquakes at least every few years.[12] The North Anna Nuclear Generating Station, located 40 miles north west of Richmond, lies within the Central Virginia Seismic Zone.

Known fault lines[edit]

During the construction of original nuclear reactors at North Anna, the utility learned of the existence of fault lines within the construction site of the proposed plants from its outside independent engineering firm, Stone & Webster, who had been hired by the utility to access the proposed nuclear plant locations. The utility was fined $32,000.00 by the government for concealing this information.[13]

According to the Huffington Post, this 1977 Justice Department memo "..focused on how the power company and federal regulatory officials went to efforts to not make public the knowledge of geologic faulting at North Anna. "[V]irtually the entire Office of Regulation of the [Nuclear Regulator Commission was] ...well aware of the fault and determined not to take any immediate action," according to the memo. A government attorney, Bradford Whitman, did not recommend prosecution at the time, but the power company was eventually fined $32,500 for making false statements during the licensing process, according to the DOJ memo."[14]

2011 Virginia earthquake[edit]

At 1:51pm on August 23, 2011, a 5.8 magnitude earthquake occurred, centered south of Mineral, Virginia, and, 11 miles from the North Anna Nuclear Station.[15] The Associated Press reported the quake "was felt as far north as Rhode Island, New York City and Martha's Vineyard, Mass." The reactors automatically shut down and, because of a loss of offsite power, four diesel generators started up to supply electricity to safety systems. The plant reported an "Alert" status, the second lowest level of four NRC emergency classifications,[16] until 11:16am on August 24, 2011.[17] One of the generators suffered a coolant leak and stopped working.[18] A fifth standby generator was activated to replace the broken unit, which was repaired.[17][19][20][21][22] Offsite power was restored later on August 23.[17][23] Dominion also reported that the aftershocks did not affect the power plant.[17] Also on August 24, Dominion announced that it had ended the "Notice of Unusual Event", the least serious of the NRC emergency classifications, at the North Anna Power Station following inspection of equipment susceptible to seismic activity.[24]

According to local Virginia media station, WHSV, "The two North Anna reactors are among 27 in the eastern and central U.S. that may need upgrades because those plants are more likely to get hit with an earthquake larger than the one on which their design was based, according to a preliminary Nuclear Regulatory Commission review." The Nuclear Regulatory Commission extended the operating licenses of these plants for an additional 20 years back in 2003. Dominion has publicly stated that on-site, spent-nuclear-fuel long-term storage canisters shifted during the earthquake along with various building cracks, all while maintaining such damage does not represent unsafe operating conditions. As of December 20, 2011, both units at North Anna Power Station have restarted, and are operating at full power.[25][26]

Reactor data[edit]

The North Anna Nuclear Generating Station consists of two operational reactors, two originally planned units were cancelled. One additional unit is planned.

Reactor unit[27] Reactor type Capacity Construction started Electricity grid connection Commercial operation Shutdown
Net Gross
North Anna-1 Westinghouse 3-loop 903 MW 973 MW 02.19.1971 04.19.1978 06.06.1978
North Anna-2 Westinghouse 3-loop 972 MW 994 MW 02.19.1971 08.25.1980 12.14.1980
North Anna-3 (former project)[28] B&W 145 907 MW 950 MW 06.01.1971 Cancelled construction on 11.01.1982
North Anna-4 (former project)[29] B&W 145 907 MW 950 MW 12.01.1971 Cancelled construction on 11.01.1980
North Anna-3 (planned)[30] ESBWR 1600 MW MW

References[edit]

  1. ^ "North Anna and Surry, Power Stations — License Renewal Application". U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. 
  2. ^ http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/fact-sheets/emerg-plan-prep-nuc-power-bg.html
  3. ^ Bill Dedman, Nuclear neighbors: Population rises near US reactors, msnbc.com, April 14, 2011 http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/42555888/ns/us_news-life/ Accessed May 1, 2011.
  4. ^ "Issued Early Site Permit — North Anna Site". U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). August 28, 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-16. 
  5. ^ "North Anna, Unit 3 Application". NRC. October 14, 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-16. 
  6. ^ "Dominion selects APWR for North Anna". World Nuclear News. 10 May 2010. Retrieved 2010-05-10. 
  7. ^ "6 arrested in protest at North Anna site". Daily Progress. August 7, 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-16. 
  8. ^ "Dominion's 3rd-quarter net income declines". WTOP Radio. Oct 29, 2010. Retrieved 2010-11-10. 
  9. ^ "ESBWR back as proposed North Anna unit". World Nuclear News. 26 April 2013. Retrieved 2013-06-15. 
  10. ^ Bill Dedman, "What are the odds? US nuke plants ranked by quake risk," msnbc.com, March 17, 2011 http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/42103936/ Accessed April 19, 2011.
  11. ^ http://msnbcmedia.msn.com/i/msnbc/Sections/NEWS/quake%20nrc%20risk%20estimates.pdf
  12. ^ http://geology.com/usgs/virginia-earthquakes
  13. ^ Department of Justice 1977 memo VEPCO fined for concealing material issue
  14. ^ Virginia electric utility and NRC knew of fault lines found during construction of North Anna nuclear plants
  15. ^ "Magnitude 5.8 - VIRGINIA; 2011 August 23 17:51:04 UTC". Earthquake Hazards Program. United States Geological Survey. August 23, 2011. 
  16. ^ Smith, Rebecca; Tracy, Tennille; Fields, Gary (24 August 2011). "Virginia Nuclear Power Plant Loses Power After Quake". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 24 August 2011. 
  17. ^ a b c d [dead link] "Alert Ends at North Anna Power Station". Dominion. August 24, 2011. Retrieved 24 August 2011. 
  18. ^ "U.S. Nuclear Industry Tested by Twin Threats From Mother Nature". August 24, 2011. 
  19. ^ Forsyth, Jennifer (August 24, 2011). "Nuclear Plant's Full Power Restored". Wall Street Journal. 
  20. ^ O'Grady, Eileen (Aug 23, 2011). "Quake raises safety concerns as US nuclear plant shut". Reuters. 
  21. ^ "Quake rocks Washington area, felt on East Coast". Associated Press. August 23, 2011. 
  22. ^ "North Anna nuclear facility loses power, shut down after quake". Richmond Times Dispatch. 
  23. ^ "Dominion's North Anna Power Station Restores Offsite Power" Dominion news release, August 23, 2004. Retrieved 2011-08-25.
  24. ^ Dominion Virginia Power press release August 24, 2011. Retrieved 2011-08-24.
  25. ^ Dominion News, Dominion Virginia Power Begins Restart of North Anna Power Station November 11, 2011. Retrieved 2011-12-20
  26. ^ NRC, Current Power Reactor Status Report for December 20, 2011 December 20, 2011. Retrieved 2011-12-20
  27. ^ Power Reactor Information System of the IAEA: „United States of America: Nuclear Power Reactors- Alphabetic“
  28. ^ Power Reactor Information System of the IAEA: „Nuclear Power Reactor Details - NORTH ANNA-3“
  29. ^ Power Reactor Information System of the IAEA: „Nuclear Power Reactor Details - NORTH ANNA-4“
  30. ^ Power Reactor Information System of the IAEA: „Nuclear Power Reactor Details - NORTH ANNA-3“

External links[edit]