US NRC approves 80-year operating life for Surry NPP

6 May 2021

The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) said on 4 May that it had approved a request from Dominion Energy to extend the operating licences for its two-unit Surry NPP in southeast Virginia by another 20 years. Both units are Westinghouse 838MWe pressurised water reactors.

Surry 1 began commercial operation in 1972 and Surry 2 in 1973, and were originally licensed to operate for 40 years. The units' licences were renewed for 20 additional years in 2003.

The licences will now expire in 2052 and 2053. Dominion filed a similar application with NRC to renew the licences of the two North Anna Power Station units in 2020. That application is under review.

Surry and North Anna together account for 92% of carbon-free electricity generation in Virginia, Dominion said.

Surry is the third nuclear power station to receive a second licence renewal from the NRC, following Florida Power & Light's Turkey Point units 3 and 4 and Exelon Generation's Peach Bottom units 2 and 3.

NRC’s said the rational for its decision “is documented in the staff’s March 2020 final Safety Evaluation Report regarding the application, as well as the staff’s April 2020 final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement”. The NRC Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards also reviewed the safety aspects of renewing the licences. The state of Virginia provided its Coastal Zone Management Act certification for the review on 1 April.

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