NRC renews operating license for Columbia nuclear power plant

Source: U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission 

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has renewed the operating license for the 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 nuclear power plant  is a boiling-water reactor located about 12 miles northwest of Richland, Wash. 

The NRC held public meetings to discuss Columbia’s environmental review near the plant on April 6, 2010, and Sept. 27, 2011. This April, the NRC staff published its Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, concluding there were no environmental impacts to preclude renewal of the license for environmental reasons. 

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. The staff’s Safety Evaluation Report documenting the technical review was published in April. 

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.
The safety and environmental review reports, application and letters relating to the Columbia Generating Station license renewal are available on the NRC website. 

Columbia’s is the 72nd reactor license renewed by the NRC.

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