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Amid nuclear setbacks, Virginia utility pauses plans for new reactor

Dominion Energy has paused development activities on a fifth reactor at a Virginia nuclear power plant, according to a company spokesperson.

The move comes amid ever-growing scrutiny now that construction on two reactors in South Carolina has stopped and plans for others in the region have been scrapped.

Just this past spring, the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission issued Dominion a combined construction and operating license for a new reactor to be located at its North Anna plant. Rules still require Dominion to secure a certificate of need from Virginia’s State Corporation Commission, but they could be overcome if the state legislature passes a bill allowing the utility to proceed without one.

However, new questions loom now that SCANA Corp. and Santee Cooper, co-owners of two planned reactors at the V.C. Summer plant in South Carolina, have halted construction. Duke Energy last month opted to pull the plug on the second of two new reactors it planned to build, one each in Florida and South Carolina. Both developments failed to overcome ever-increasing cost estimates, risks of construction delays and the sustainability of the industry’s supply chain.

All of this comes despite the Southeast– dominated by investor-owned utilities that enjoy monopoly access to ratepayers – having long been considered the only region in the U.S. hospitable to building new reactors.

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