Dominion Virginia Power on Friday said it had selected Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ (MHI’s) U.S-specific version of the Advanced Pressurized Water Reactor (US-APWR) for its proposed unit at North Anna Power Station in central Virginia. The selection was the result of a competitive process launched by the utility last year.

Dominion had submitted a combined construction and operating license (COL) application to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for a third unit at the 1,840-MW North Anna station in November 2007, referencing the GE-Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor (ESBWR). In March 2009, Dominion and GE-Hitachi failed to negotiate a contract, however.

That reactor design had also been dropped by Exelon and Entergy as the preferred technology for plants in Texas, Mississippi, and Louisiana last year. Exelon cited commercial and schedule uncertainties, whereas Entergy said it had been unable to come to acceptable business terms with GE-Hitachi (GEH).

Last September, GEH Nuclear Energy said it had submitted a final design certification document for the ESBWR to the NRC. The NRC now expects to issue a final rule for the design in September 2011.

A third-generation reactor design, the US-APWR was developed based on technologies for a 1,538-MW APWR intended for use at Japan Atomic Power Co.’s Tsuruga Power Station (Units 3 and 4). “A variety of modifications were added to meet the demands of U.S. utility customers for enhanced performance, including the world’s highest level of thermal efficiency, a 20% reduction in plant building volume, a 24-month fuel cycle, and greater economy through increased power generation capacity,” Mitsubishi said in a statement last week.

The reactor design has also been selected by Dallas-based generator Luminant for two new units at its Comanche Peak site in Texas.

To date MHI has built 24 pressurized water reactors in Japan and has exported numerous components for nuclear power plants to U.S. utilities, including reactor vessel heads, control rod drive mechanisms, and steam generators. MHI first entered the U.S. nuclear market in 2002 through an order from Dominion for a replacement reactor vessel closure head and control rod drive mechanism at its Surry and North Anna nuclear plants, respectively.

Sources: Dominion Virginia Power, MHI, NRC, POWERnews