Permits OK'd for 3rd reactor at North Anna

NEWPORT NEWS — Weeks after a rare earthquake forced the shutdown of North Anna nuclear power plant, state regulators approved a permit enabling a proposed third reactor to inch forward.

The Virginia Marine Resources Commission on Tuesday voted unanimously to allow the plant’s owner, Dominion Resources, to build a transmission line, temporary bridge and other infrastructure near North Anna.

The permit is one of dozens Dominion needs, including permission from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory, before it can add another reactor at North Anna, Dominion spokesman Richard Zuercher said.

Dominion, which submitted its application to the NRC in 2007, is looking for a partner to share costs of building the reactor. It also hopes the federal government will offer additional loan guarantees.

But the industry has been stymied by the Fukushima tsunami disaster in Japan, the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl, and by the Aug. 23 earthquake, which caused vibrations in the ground that exceeded North Anna’s design.

The quake also caused 25 spent nuclear fuel casks at North Anna to shift. The incident is under investigation by Dominion and the NRC.

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