Remarks – David A. Christian
Chief Nuclear Officer and President - Dominion Nuclear
North Anna Power Station Unit 3
COL News Conference
Nov. 28, 2007
My name is David Christian and I am the Chief Nuclear Officer for Dominion. Today is a momentous day for the company in keeping the nuclear option available to help meet our customers’ future energy needs.
Yesterday, Gene Grecheck, our vice president - Nuclear Development, traveled to Washington to present in person our Combined Operating License application to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
This license application contains the equivalent of more than 15,000 pages of documentation on a 4-gigabyte DVD.
At the same time, the NRC handed Gene an Early Site Permit for North Anna, giving Dominion a 20-year option to consider building a new unit at North Anna Power Station. Having the Early Site Permit means that North Anna is a suitable site for an additional reactor.
As Tom already mentioned, the Combined Operating License, if approved, will give the company permission to build and operate a new nuclear unit, called North Anna 3. Approval from the Virginia State Corporation Commission and the North Carolina Public Utilities Commission will also be necessary before we can build the unit. At this time, we are conducting a detailed cost study to determine if we will move forward.
Dominion is partnering with Bechtel Corp. and General Electric-Hitachi Co. on the COL application. As part of this effort, we have been working cooperatively with NuStart, a large nuclear consortium, some of whose members also are interested in using General Electric Hitachi’s ESBWR technology, which stands for Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor. Because Dominion is the first company to apply for a Combined Operating License using the ESBWR design, North Anna will be the reference site for the industry for this technology.
Dominion currently has a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy to work through the licensing process of the Combined Operating License under a 50-50 cost-sharing agreement. DOE also provided this cost sharing arrangement for the Early Site Permit.
As Tom Farrell indicated, when and if the new unit is approved and Dominion decides to move forward, construction could begin as early as 2011*, with commercial operation to follow as early as 2016-17*. (>> view a timeline)
Earlier this year, Dominion signed a contract with General Electric-Hitachi to secure certain critical, "long-lead" components such as large forgings and other nuclear and turbine island parts based on the ESBWR design. The company did this because we believe the market for these components will be tight in the near future. If we are to meet a schedule of commercial operation in 2016-17*, we want to be at the head of the line.
Here we see a cut-a-way of the ESBWR design. The ESBWR is a passively safe, next generation reactor capable of producing about 1,500 megawatts of electricity. A nuclear unit of this size would produce enough energy to power about 375,000 homes at peak demand in Virginia, with virtually no emissions to the atmosphere.
One ESBWR, replacing the same amount of generation from traditional sources in the U.S., would reduce carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions by an amount equivalent to what 1.5 million cars produce.
The ESBWR features gravity-based, passive systems that dramatically improve safety and simplicity, and eliminate the need for large numbers of pumps and other systems that are part of more traditional reactor designs. It also meets safety goals that are 100 times more stringent than those for current designs.
The simplified design features many modular and standardized components, which should lead to faster, less expensive construction and lower overall operating costs over the projected 60-year life of the unit.
General Electric-Hitachi submitted its 7,500-page ESBWR design application to the NRC in August 2005 after working on improvements for more than 10 years. NRC approval of the design is expected by 2011*.
The construction of North Anna Unit 3 would have a significant positive impact on Virginia in terms of jobs and tax revenues going to the local community. We estimate that several thousand workers will be required to build the unit, and that 750 permanent jobs would be created to run it. Electricity from this new unit would serve Virginia and Virginia’s residents. As Tom explained, it would help lower the Commonwealth’s dependence on power imported from elsewhere.
Over the past four years we have been working with local communities to plan for a potential new reactor. We heard concerns from our neighbors and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality about using Lake Anna to cool this reactor. As a result, we committed to use a special closed-loop cooling tower system instead, thereby removing the discharge of any additional heated water to the Waste Heat Treatment Facility and the lake.
To sum up, we are excited about the Combined Operating License submittal. And we look forward to continuing to work with our stakeholders in the community and all levels of government to plan – and meet – our customers’ future energy needs.
*These dates reflect a schedule change announced in April 2008.
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