Dominion has been granted an early site permit for new nuclear at its North Anna site, in Virginia, USA.
The firm plans to submit a combined construction and operating licence (COL) application for an ESBWR at the site on 27 November.
The approval follows news that the NuStart Energy consortium and Tennessee Valley Authority have submitted a COL application for two AP1000 reactors at Bellefonte, in Alabama.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) North Anna early site permit approval stands for 20 years and can be seen as a partial construction permit. If the permit lapses, it can be renewed.
The NRC review of an early site permit application looks into site safety issues, environmental protection, and emergency planning, independent of the review of a specific nuclear plant design.
When a permit is issued, some environmental, public health and safety issues cannot be challenged for the duration of the permit.
President and chief executive officer of Dominion Generation Mark McGettrick said: "This permit is the result of a cooperative agreement between Dominion and the US Department of Energy, which shared the cost equally.”
The NRC received Dominion’s application in September 2003.
The firm then decided to change the cooling system for proposed unit 3 and increase the power level for the proposed units 3 and 4.
A sixth revision of the application was submitted to the NRC in April 2006 applying these changes.
North Anna 1 began commercial operation in June 1978 and unit 2 followed in December 1980.
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