Nuclear power plant one step closer to license renewal

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) on March 1 issued its final safety evaluation report (SER) for the proposed renewal of the operating license for the 1,150 MW Columbia Generating Station and concluded that there are no open items that would preclude license renewal for an additional 20 years of operation.

The report documents the results of the NRC staff’s review of the license renewal application and site audits of the plant’s aging management programs to address the safety of plant operations during the period of extended operation. The NRC said the results show that the applicant has identified actions that have been or will be taken to manage the effects of aging in the appropriate safety systems, structures and components of the plant and that their functions will be maintained during the period of extended operation.

The NRC staff is in the process of reviewing the environmental part of the Columbia plant’s license renewal application. That review must be completed before a final decision is made on the renewal.

Energy Northwest submitted an application to the NRC in January 2010, to extend the plant licenses by 20 years for each unit. The plant, operated by Energy Northwest, is about 160 miles southeast of Seattle. The current 40-year operating license for Columbia is due to expire on Dec. 20, 2023.

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