Industries Energy/Green

Groups want Dominion to abandon plans for North Anna 3 reactor

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Friends of the Earth and 13 other organizations oppose the building of a third nuclear reactor at the North Anna Power Station in Louisa County.

Dominion Resources has not yet made a final decision regarding its plans to proceed with a third reactor at North Anna. Even so, Friends of the Earth, a Washington, D.C.-based environmental network that claims 5,000 local activist groups and more than 2 million members at its Website, joined other groups including the Sierra Club, Virginia Chapter; Mothers Against Uranium Minin, Friends of Nelson  and Charlottesville Center for Peace and Justice to urge the state to bypass nuclear in favor of a clean-energy plan.

The letter, sent to Gov. Terry McAuliffe, members of the Virginia General Assembly, nuclear regulatory commissioners and Dominion Resources, says that the proposed reactor would sit on an active earthquake fault and lacks a reliable water supply for cooling three reactors.

The letter also notes the project’s high cost. “The $10 to $20 billion required to build North Anna 3 would result in major electricity cost increases for residential and business customers when our future electricity needs can be met more effectively through less costly investments in efficiency programs and renewable energy such as solar and wind,“ the letter says.

It goes on to say that “the construction and operation of this new reactor on an active earthquake fault line would jeopardize the reliability of our electricity service, threaten water resources, endanger public health, and create security risks for the people living in Central Virginia and beyond. “
In August 2011, a 5.8 magnitude earthquake stuck the small town of Mineral and hit the nearby North Anna Nuclear Power Station. The plant automatically shut down and lost its offsite electrical power. An inspection by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) later found that the ground motion of the earthquake exceeded some levels for which the plant originally was licensed. There was no damage to safety equipment, and safety systems functioned during the quake.

“A more serious earthquake, after construction of a third reactor, could take more than 3,300 megawatts of power off the grid immediately and indefinitely impact the security and resiliency of our electricity supply,” he letter says. “Alternatively, investment in efficiency and renewable energy provide for distributed generation, not vulnerable to any single natural event like an earthquake or severe storms. Distributed generation is also far less vulnerable to terrorist attacks or sabotage.”

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