Dominion provides the Lake Anna information on this page as a public service for residents and communities near the lake.
Lake Anna is one of the largest freshwater inland lakes in Virginia, covering an area of 13,000 acres. It is located 72 miles south of Washington, D.C. in Louisa and Spotsylvania counties, with its northern tips reaching into Orange County. The lake's easy accessibility from Richmond and Charlottesville makes it one of the most popular recreational lakes in the state. (View a map.)
Lake Anna offers many activities, such as swimming, boating, world-class fishing, hiking, biking and running. Nearby attractions include vineyards, antique shopping, golf, historic sites, theme parks and hiking.
Lake Anna was created in the 1970s by Dominion’s predecessor, Virginia Electric and Power Company, to provide cooling for the company’s North Anna Power Station. The company purchased 18,000 acres of land in the 1968 and cleared it to create the 9,600-acre Lake Anna reservoir and the 3,400-acre Waste Heat Treatment Facility (WHTF). The lake was formed by damming the North Anna River.
The gates of the dam were closed in January 1972 and it was projected to take three years for the lake to fill up with water from natural rainfall in time for the first North Anna unit to begin commercial operation. However, on June 21 and 22, 1972, Hurricane Agnes – a tropical storm by the time it reached Central Virginia – stalled and virtually filled the lake full. Water level reached 250 feet above mean sea level – or full pond – in December 1972.
Both the reservoir and the WHTF play an integral role in providing safe and reliable electricity to Virginians, as well as providing a wonder place for recreation and fishing for Lake Anna residents and property owners, and thousands of people who visit the area each year.
Water from Lake Anna is drawn into the North Anna Power Station at each of the two units’ intake structures where it passes through a condenser at a rate of 1 million gallons a minute per unit to cool down the steam used in electric production. The steam drives large turbines attached to shafts that spin the electric generators. The condensed steam is sent back to the steam generator to be reheated back to steam. Electricity is produced and sent to the station’s switchyard, where grid operators dispatch it to customers. (View an animation.) The two North Anna units represent about 17 percent of the electric capacity serving Dominion Virginia Power’s 2.4 million customers.
After Lake Anna water passes through the condenser it is placed into the station’s discharge canal at a slightly higher temperature (this would be the temperature at the discharge point), where it meanders through the WHTF to cool down before being placed back into the 9600 acre reservoir. The water level in the lake and WHTF are affected by seasonal weather conditions and by the operation of the station. (View a brochure on Lake Anna.)
Dominion takes great pride in Lake Anna and its environmental stewardship of this place of beauty.
In 1971, Dominion Virginia Power became one of the first utilities in the United States to establish a permanent Environmental Department to monitor and minimize the environmental impact of its operations. This department employs environmental professionals who include engineers, chemists, biologists, meteorologists, technicians and administrative staff.
The Environmental Department continues to focus on clean air, water, land and waste management.
Environmental professionals constantly monitor the environment, looking for changes or problems. They also provide management with information about new environmental programs or conditions – or environmental laws and regulations – that might affect the company in the future. This whole effort is aimed at continuously preserving the quality of the environment.
An extensive radiological sampling program ensures that the operation of North Anna has a minimal impact on the environment. The program analyzes water, silt, shoreline sediment, milk, aquatic biota, food products, vegetation and direct exposure pathways.
This program is designed to confirm that radiological effluent releases are As Low As Reasonably Achievable (ALARA), no undue environmental effects occur, and the health and safety of the public is protected.
Radiation and radioactivity in the environment is monitored within a 25-miles radius of North Anna. The program results are reported annually to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission in the annual radiological environmental operating report.
Dominion requires property owners who want to build any structures or make improvements on their waterfront boundary property to first apply for authorization.
We invite you to view or download North Anna's colorful Nuclear Emergency Planning Information Calendar. This calendar was specially developed for residents and businesses in Louisa County, Caroline County, Hanover County, Orange County & Spotsylvania County.
Additional emergency planning information is also available online.