Emergency shut down at Washington state NPP

30 March 2016

Energy Northwest's Columbia Generating Station near Richland in the USA, Washington state's only NPP, was shut down unexpectedly on 28 March after operators discovered a fault in the Cooling system. Officials said there was no release of radiation or danger to the public and they expect to restart the plant within a few days. Energy Northwest said it seems that a water system valve may not have been in the right position, but an investigation is underway. Company spokesman Mike Paoli said a decision on restarting the plant would be made after a thorough review of the event and when operators have confidence that all systems can operate to standards.

The plant broke generation records in December and January, operating in January above its peak capacity factor. It had also set a new record for the longest continuous operational run last year, operating for 683 days before shutting down for a planned biennial refueling and maintenance outage. Energy Northwest is a consortium of 27 public power utilities that own the nuclear plant, which is located on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

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