Residents Protest Nuclear Reactors

By: Whitney Holmes
By: Whitney Holmes

February 17, 2005

A radioactive debate continued to brew over plans to build two more nuclear reactors at Dominion Power's North Anna site in Mineral, which currently houses two reactors. The rally was held before a Nuclear Regulatory Commission public hearing which discussed a draft of the Environmental Impact Statement.

The hearing is part of the Department of Energy's new early site permit process, which Dominion is one of few companies testing out, and the farthest along in the process. The statement discusses any ramifications to the environment two new reactors would have.

According to the statement, a third reactor would have minimal impact on the water level in Lake Anna, a 13,000 acre lake created by Dominion to cool its reactors. The statement says a fourth reactor would not use the lake at all.

But concerned citizens at the rally, such as Elena Day of the People's Alliance, disagree with the statement.

"The recent three year drought made us a lot more appreciative of our water resources. A third nuclear reactor taking water from the lake will decrease supplies," said Day. Day added that the Environmental Impact Statement overlooks many environmental, safety, and health concerns.

Spotsylvania, Orange and Louisa counties border Lake Anna. Previously, Spotsylvania objected to Dominion's proposal. Louisa county has yet to rule on it, but the county chair said Dominion's been nice to have around.

"They are very involved in the community and as a whole they have been very supportive of the efforts in the community and they have been a good neighbor," said Fitzgerald Barnes, chair of the Louisa County Board of Supervisors.

But Day questioned this good neighbor status. "As far as being a good neighbor, they have kept us from having a catastrophic event? Yes, thank you Dominion, I appreciate that a lot. Yeah they've been good neighbors in Louisa county because I think they even bragged that the largest tax payment in Virginia history has been to Louisa county," said Day. Since the North Anna site is in Louisa, they receive the financial profits; Orange and Spotsylvania do not.

Richard Zuercher from Dominion said right now they have no plans to build a reactor but this permit would provide the company with an option.

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