Columbia Generating Station completes “breaker to breaker” run

 Columbia Generating Station completes “breaker to breaker” run

Caption: Columbia Generating Station

Energy Northwest’s Columbia Generating Station in Wash. recently set a new record for its longest continuous operational run – 683 days – when operators shut down the reactor to begin the station’s biennial refueling and maintenance outage. Columbia achieved what’s known as a “breaker to breaker” run for the first time in its 30-year history, meaning the plant has been operating non-stop since reconnecting to the grid on June 25, 2013, following its previous refueling outage.

During the 683-day run, Columbia produced nearly 18 million megawatt-hours of electricity and operated at a more than 98 percent capacity factor.

“This record run is about keeping our commitment to the region to produce clean, reliable and cost-effective power for the long-term,” said Mark Reddemann, Energy Northwest CEO. “I’m proud of our team and their many accomplishments over the last two years.”

Columbia was online every single day during 2014 and in November broke its previous record – 505 days set in April 2011 – for consecutive days online. Columbia also produced more clean, nuclear energy for the Northwest power grid during fiscal 2014 than any other fiscal year in its 30-year history. The nuclear facility sent nearly 9.8 million megawatt-hours of electricity to the grid, culminating three consecutive years of record-setting generation. In November, Columbia also marked five years without an unplanned shut-down.

Columbia has now began a 42-day refueling and maintenance outage that will include several major projects and the loading of 248 new, higher-efficiency, nuclear fuel assemblies into the reactor core. An additional 1,500 skilled outage workers were hired locally and from across the country to support maintenance projects throughout the plant.

Columbia Generating Station is the third largest producer of electricity in Wash., generating 1,170 megawatts of electricity, which is sold at-cost to BPA.

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