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Nuclear Power

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.

View resources from our Nuclear Power Task Force, including links to articles about CGS, small modular reactors, Fukushima, and renewable energy.

View in-depth information about CGS, including its history and governance structure, from Nuclear Free Northwest.

Resources

Washington and Oregon PSR have commissioned several studies about CGS.

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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.


Read his report "The Hazards of High-Level Radioactive Waste in the Pacific Northwest: A Review of Spent Nuclear Fuel Management at the Columbia Generating Station"

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McCullough Research is an energy consulting firm that was key in exposing Enron’s connection to California’s power shortages in 2000 and 2001.

Read their report, “Economic Analysis of the Columbia Generating Station”

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Terry L. Tolan is an engineering geologist based in Kennewick, WA.

Read Tolan Report #1, “Earthquake Risk Factors at the CGS”

Read Tolan Report #2, “Evaluation of Energy Northwest Response to the NRC”

for additional formation on seismic hazards

Seismic Map for Mid-Columbia Basin

Attachments to Report #2 (Figure 1, Figure 2, Figure 3)