Nuclear power plant's operating license renewed

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has renewed the operating license for the 1,250 MW Columbia Generating Station, located in Benton County, Wash., for an additional 20 years. The new license will expire on Dec. 20, 2043.

The renewal, signed May 22, comes after thorough safety and environmental reviews of the application submitted by Energy Northwest, the plant’s operator, on Jan. 20, 2010. The Columbia Generating Station uses one GE (NYSE: GE) Mark II boiling-water reactor.

After careful review of the plant’s safety systems and specifications, the staff concluded there were no safety concerns that would preclude license renewal and that the applicant had effectively demonstrated the capability to manage the effects of plant aging. In addition, NRC conducted inspections of the plant to verify information submitted by the applicant.

On April 24, the Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards – an independent body of technical experts that advise the Commission – issued its recommendation that license renewal for Columbia should be approved.

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