North Anna nuclear plant starts construction of 3rd Reactor Despite Not Receiving License and Current Increased Inspections

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It will be another week before final analysis of North Anna’s “shake plates,” which recorded ground motion at the site, is finished, official says.

But Dominion expects to build the new plant. On Friday, bulldozers moved dirt in early preparations for the reactor’s containment building, designed to be sturdier than the existing structures. Company official Page Kemp said Dominion could receive a license for the reactor in 2013 or 2014.

Despite the upbeat picture painted of a nuclear plant that withstood the first earthquake-triggered shutdown in the 53-year history of commercial nuclear power in the United States, environmental groups have long questioned the wisdom of locating the plant in the Central Virginia Seismic Zone.

Regulators are also weighing in. After the Fukushima Daiichi disaster in Japan, the NRC ordered renewed study, now underway, of seismic risks to 27 U.S. nuclear plants, including North Anna.

“The power plant shouldn’t have been built there in first place,” said Lou Zeller of the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League, which is seeking to stop construction of a proposed third North Anna reactor. “Mother Nature has weighed in here.”

The group won a minor victory Thursday when the NRC’s Atomic Safety and Licensing Board Panel agreed to hear its objections to the third reactor.

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