Whistleblowers send warning at Columbia Generating Station

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The Columbia Generating Station, the only commercial nuclear reactor in the state of Washington, has agreed to hire an independent investigator to look into whistleblower allegations that the plant has ignored operational and safety problems in order to keep the nuclear power plant online.

An anonymous letter was sent to the local media and board members of Energy Northwest, the public corporation that owns and operates the plant.  The letter alleged that according to industry performance scores used to grade operations the Columbia Generating Station has ranked among the worst in the United States in critical performance areas like electricity production relative to capacity, reliability, equipment health, and radiation protection.

Mike Paoli, spokesman for Energy Northwest, declined to release the performance grades stating that it was protected information.

The Columbia Generating Station is home to a General Electric BWR nuclear reactor similar to the Fukushima Daiichi reactors that began construction in 1975, but after construction delays the plant was over-budget and not brought online until 1984.

The plant has been under intense economic scrutiny in the last few years, with critics asserting that the plant cannot financially compete with low energy prices in the wholesale market and boom of natural gas.

Energy Northwest was recently forced to pay a fine to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission after an official investigation found security officers inattentive and unavailable.

Source: Tri-City Herald

Source: Oregon Live

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