Columbia nuclear plant gets closer to 20-year license extension

Energy Northwest’s Columbia nuclear plant is a step closer to receiving a new 20-year license extension from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

NRC said March 1 that it has issued the final safety evaluation report for the proposed 20-year renewal of the operating license. Columbia is a 1,150-MW boiling water reactor plant.

The plant is located on the Columbia River about 160 miles southeast of Seattle, Wash. The current 40-year operating license for Columbia is due to expire on Dec. 20, 2023. Energy Northwest submitted the renewal application to NRC in January 2010.

The final safety report is a significant milestone in the license renewal process.

The report marks the completion of the NRC staff’s safety review that is published and subsequently reviewed and publicly discussed by the agency’s Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards (ACRS). The staff is currently reviewing the environmental part of the Columbia plant’s renewal application. That review must be completed before a final NRC decision is made.

Overall, 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.

Energy Northwest develops, owns and operates a diverse mix of electricity generating resources, including the Columbia plant. Energy Northwest comprises 28 member public utilities from across the state of Washington that participate under a joint operating agreement.


About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at