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The Columbia Generating Station (CGS) is the only nuclear power plant operating in the Pacific Northwest. Previously known as the Washington Public Power Supply System (WPPSS) plant #2 (WNP-2), CGS has a GE Boiling Water Reactor with a Mark II containment system. The plant began operating in 1984 on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation along the Columbia River, north of Richland, Washington. The plant produces around 4% of the Pacific Northwest’s electricity on an average annual basis.
CGS was the only nuclear plant completed by Washington public power utilities out of five under construction, leading to what was at the time the largest municipal bond default in US history. WPPSS (pronounced “whoops”) has since changed its name to Energy Northwest.
Ten years in advance of its license expiration, Energy Northwest went before the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and extended the plant’s license until 2043, a full 20 years beyond its designed life.
Due to economic concerns and risks to human health and the environment, Washington PSR has partnered with Oregon PSR to work towards shutting down CGS. Both groups are also part of Nuclear Free Northwest coalition.
Washington and Oregon PSR have commissioned several studies about CGS.
Robert Alvarez is a former policy advisor to the U.S. Secretary of Energy and senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, DC.
McCullough Research is an energy consulting firm that was key in exposing Enron’s connection to California’s power shortages in 2000 and 2001.
Terry L. Tolan is an engineering geologist based in Kennewick, WA.
for additional formation on seismic hazards