Power Planners Ponder The Northwest Without A Nuclear Power Plant

Jan 15, 2014

Northwest power planners may do their own analysis on the impacts of shutting down the region’s only nuclear power plant, which operates near Richland, Washington.

Columbia Generating Station near Richland, WA.
Credit Nuclear Regulatory Commission/Flickr

At a meeting today, members of the Northwest Power and Conservation Council discussed the wildly conflicting results of two studies on the Columbia Generating Station. One study conducted for nuclear power critics found shutting down the plant and using other sources of electricity instead would save more than a billion dollars. Another study produced for the nuclear plant’s owner found keeping it open would save more than a billion dollars compared with the next best alternative. Jim Yost is a council member from Idaho. He says the Northwest would lose eleven hundred and fifty megawatts of electricity supply if the plant did shut down. That's enough to power the city of Seattle.

Yost: "It would be a huge issue for the Northwest in reliability, safety and adequacy."

The Council is building a new long-term power plan for the region. Yost says as part of that plan, the council could model the region's electricity costs without the nuclear power plant.

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