Lake Anna residents react to 3rd nuclear reactor in Louisa

By Matt Butner - bio | email
Posted by Phil Riggan - email

LOUISA, VA (WWBT) - Plans to build a nuclear reactor in Louisa county have overcome opposition to win government approval. But the Dominion Power project may not be a done deal just yet.

The new reactor would join the two already operating at the North Anna Nuclear Power Station. Louisa county officials have embraced the idea since it first came to their attention several years ago.

"We all along have been very supportive. After all, we've had two here for several decades, so it's just a continuation of the same," said Willie Gentry, Louisa county supervisor.

But Gentry insists the board has not simply rubber stamped the proposal.

"We have agreed from the board level to approve and accept, but at the same time, when there were concerns from citizens, we made sure that was known as well," he said.

One of the primary concerns of residents near Lake Anna has been the water level of the lake. A third reactor would accelerate the process of evaporation, which is a by-product of the nuclear reactions at the plant.

Doug Smith is the vice president of the Lake Anna Civic Association. His group has been among the most vocal in their concerns about the lake.

"Dominion has agreed to raise the lake level three inches, so if we start out at a higher level, we don't end up at quite so low a level by the end of the summer," Smith said.

But despite these concerns, and ongoing opposition from environmental and alternative energy groups, the project has cleared every regulatory hurdle it has faced so far.

For now, the project's biggest roadblock is a financial one. Dominion has been in negotiations with General Electric to design and build the reactor, but the two sides haven't been able to agree on a price tag. So, Dominion is exploring other options.

A Dominion spokesman says the company hopes to have that issue resolved by the end of the year. If it stays on schedule, the new reactor will be up an running by 2018.

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