Surry units cleared for 80-year operation

05 May 2021

The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has approved an application by Dominion Energy's Virginia subsidiary for a 20-year extension to the operating licences of the twin-unit Surry nuclear power plant. This will enable the two pressurised water reactors to operate until 2052 and 2053, respectively.

Surry (Image: Dominion Energy)

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 of operation in March 2003. The NRC's subsequent licence renewal process determines whether an operating reactor can extend its licence for an additional 20 years beyond the 60 years covered by the initial licence and renewed licence.

The rationale for the NRC's decision to approve the subsequent licence renewal for Surry is documented in its March 2020 final Safety Evaluation Report and a final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement dated April 2020. The NRC Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards also reviewed the safety aspects of renewing the licences.

"Renewing Surry's licences for another 20-year period is great news for our customers, the environment and the regional economy," Dominion Energy Chief Nuclear Officer Dan Stoddard said.

"Extending Surry's operations is critical to Dominion Energy meeting the Virginia Clean Economy Act's requirements for zero-carbon electricity by 2045," he added. "It also positions Virginia for continued economic growth and will help the Commonwealth remain a leader in the production of clean energy in the mid-Atlantic and South. It supports more than 900 high-paying jobs at the station and produces additional economic and tax benefits."

The NRC is in the process of reviewing an application filed last year by Dominion for a subsequent licence renewal for its two North Anna units, also in Virginia. Surry and North Anna between them represent 92% of the carbon-free electricity generation in Virginia, the company said.

Surry is the third nuclear power station to receive a subsequent 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.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News