WASHINGTON—As a reliable provider of more than 20 percent of Virginia’s electricity, the North Anna Power Station generates more than $710 million in economic benefits to the state, according to a new economic analysis of the facility.
The direct economic benefit of electricity production at North Anna’s two reactors is $600 million. The secondary economic benefits to the state are another $111 million,according to the analysis.
The power station is “an integral part of the local economy,” employing nearly 1,000 people, the report states. The direct and indirect compensation from the power plant – in the form of employee compensation and labor income for other workers within the state –totals more than $150 million annually.
In addition, power station owner Dominion pays approximately $11 million in property taxes annually and makes more than $23 million in purchases in Virginia.
The economic analysis was produced by the Nuclear Energy Institute. It is the 12th economic impact analysis that NEI has conducted of nuclear power plants across the nation, and is the second analysis conducted for Dominion, which is one of NEI’s member companies. NEI released its economic impact analysis of Dominion’s Millstone power station in Connecticut in 2003.
The studies use a nationally recognized Impact Analysis for Planning model that was developed for the federal government by RTI International of North Carolina’s Research Triangle.
“The North Anna power station is vital to the economies of Louisa, Orange and Spotsylvania counties,” said Richard Myers, NEI vice president of policy development.
“It is among the largest employers in that area of the state and has consistently been among the nuclear industry’s best-managed and best-operated facilities. There is enormous value to Virginians in terms of electricity production and hundreds of millions of dollars of economic benefit from the North Anna plant.”
North Anna’s two reactors generated more than 15 billion kilowatt-hours (kwh) of electricity in 2006, providing about one-fifth of the electricity generated in Virginia each year.
The power station’s average electricity production cost (encompassing fuel and operations and maintenance expenses) was 1.38 cents/kwh in 2006, about one-half of the average production cost of 2.74 cents/kwh for electricity generators in the Virginia-Carolinas subregion of the Southeastern Electric Reliability Council power region.
The North Anna station’s average production cost is significantly lower than the regional average for electricity generated by coal (2.99 cents/kwh), renewables (4.37 cents/kwh) and natural gas (7.89 cents/kwh).
“North Anna’s low production costs help keep electricity prices down in Virginia,” states the report, which estimates that average electricity costs in the region would have risen 12 percent, to more than three cents/kwh, if the nuclear plant’s electricity were replaced with power from a combined-cycle natural gas plant.
The study also finds that North Anna’s 960 employees generally have higher-paying jobs than most workers in the north Piedmont section of Virginia where the plant has operated since the late 1970s.
“Full-time North Anna employees who live in Louisa County earn, on average, about $60,400 a year. This is seven percent higher than the average earnings of workers in the county – about $56,400 a year,” the report states.
Including labor, North Anna’s expenditures for products and services in the three counties surrounding the power plant – Louisa, Orange and Spotsylvania – totaled more than $58 million in 2006. Statewide expenditures for products and services totaled $138 million.
The report details North Anna’s economic impact as either a direct effect – such as the value of the electricity produced and direct spending by the plant – or a secondary “ripple” effect that includes subsequent spending impacts from the initial distribution of resources.
The direct effects at the county level for output and labor income are $658 million, with direct effects to the state and nation of $714.3 million and $714.7 million respectively.
The combined direct and ripple effects at the county level are $673 million, with combined economic benefits to Virginia of $864 million and to the nation of $1.15 billion.
For every dollar of output from the North Anna station, the local economy produces $1.02, while Virginia’s economy produces $1.19 and the United States’ economy produces $1.56, the study determined.
The full report is accessible on NEI’s Web site .