nuclear power

An Oregon-based nuclear company presented a detailed timeline Thursday for the deployment of its first small modular nuclear power plant. An executive from NuScale Power presented the roadmap during a keynote address to the International SMR and Advanced Reactor Summit taking place this week in Atlanta.

At the Northwest’s only nuclear power plant, the Columbia Generating Station, a recent anonymous letter has spurred a $150,000 investigation so far into the plant’s performance. The letter was penned by an apparent insider.

Independent investigators are onsite at the Northwest’s only nuclear power plant, the Columbia Generating Station, north of Richland, Washington.

Last summer officials at the only Northwest nuclear power plant changed their public evacuation plans and the federal government says in a report it wasn’t informed.

U.S. Department of Energy

Seventy years ago Friday, an 11-month frenzied construction project went hot. It all happened in the remote southeast Washington desert.

Scientists pulled the control rods out of the first full-scale nuclear reactor at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. The startup of B Reactor is one of the key moments in the dawn of the Atomic Age.

Anna King / Northwest News Network

Japan’s crippled nuclear plant is bleeding hazardous radioactive water at a mind-staggering rate. Officials at Fukushima Daiich are filling 27-feet-tall tanks nearly every other day. Now, in southeast Washington, a company called Kurion is developing and building a mobile filter system to help deal with that troublesome radioactive wastewater.

The filtering system looks like five large shipping containers. Except, they’re awfully shiny and have a lot of high-tech whiz-bang pipes, electronics and tanks inside. Workers here are still welding, and testing the systems.

Nuclear Power Plant Safety Report

Mar 7, 2014
Nuclear Regulatory Commission / Flickr

A new report from the Union of Concerned Scientists says the Northwest’s only commercial nuclear power plant reported three safety problems in 2013. Officials at the plant say they’ve been on top of the issues.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission/Flickr

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.

There’s a new debate raging over the Northwest’s only commercial nuclear power plant. But it’s not about safety or how to dispose of nuclear waste.

Here’s an update on a double-hulled tank that’s leaking internally at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeast Washington. The Department of Energy said Friday that recent tests show there is no leak of radioactive material outside of the tank. But the State of Washington says it still wants Hanford managers to pump the liquids out of the tank immediately. Correspondent Anna King has more.

The people overseeing the cleanup of the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster are learning some valuable lessons from the long-running cleanup at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. A Japanese government delegation recently toured some of the southeast Washington site.

In Japan, workers in gloves and masks are grinding down sidewalks and roads, wiping down rooftops and bagging contaminated soil. Now, the problem is where to put all that radioactive waste from Fukushima.

Federal regulators say the Northwest’s only commercial nuclear power plant is now back on course after an 11-year safety miscalculation. The new designation means the Columbia Generating Station in southeast Washington gets a more relaxed inspection and oversight status.

Between 2000 and 2011, workers at the nuclear plant used faulty estimates for how much radiation could escape during a crisis. That mistake and others were found in an inspection just last year.

RICHLAND, Wash. – A tank full of radioactive waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeast Washington may be leaking. Friday the U.S. Department of Energy and its contractors say liquid levels in an underground radioactive waste tank are going down.

The single-hulled tank is called T-111. It’s located in central Hanford in a group of tanks called T-farm. The Department of Energy reports the rate of loss is about 150 to 300 gallons of liquid a year.

Idaho Nuclear Task Force Issues Final Report

Feb 7, 2013
Photo by Aaron Kunz / EarthFix

The Idaho nuclear task force presented its final report to lawmakers Wednesday afternoon. It’s raising concerns from environmentalists who say it leaves the door open to transporting radioactive material into the state.

Earthfix reporter Aaron Kunz has more.

Photo courtesy U.S. Congress

Idaho Governor Butch Otter underscored his commitment Monday to keeping more spent nuclear waste from entering Idaho. EarthFix Reporter Aaron Kunz explains.

Photo courtesy U.S. Department of Energy

The federal government is reviewing three years of payments to a major contractor at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. The review follows growing concerns about a nuclear waste treatment plant at the southeast Washington site. Correspondent Anna King explains.

Photo courtesy Hanford.gov

When Governor Chris Gregoire leaves office in January, she’ll take with her nearly a quarter-century’s worth of expertise on one of the most contaminated places on Earth.

U.S. Department of Energy

Washington environmental regulators say a new 6,000 page plan for the Hanford Nuclear Reservation is very useful. But it lacks a definitive path forward for treating a large part of the radioactive sludge there.

Idaho Task Force Considers Nuclear Waste

Dec 3, 2012
Aaron Kunz / Boise State Public Radio

A task force in Idaho today issued a first draft of recommendations that could include the shipment of spent nuclear waste into the state.

Idaho LINE Commission Delays Recommendation

Nov 19, 2012

An Idaho task force is delaying its release of a draft proposal on ways to strengthen the state’s nuclear energy industry. EarthFix reporter Aaron Kunz was at the task force meeting Friday in Moscow and has the latest.

Now to the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeast Washington. Workers are readying pumping equipment at a slow-leaking radioactive waste tank in case the leak gets worse. A newly released report details why the tank became unstable.

Photo courtesy of U.S. Department of Energy

Managers at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation have confirmed that a radioactive waste tank has a slow leak. That waste isn’t getting into the environment. Richland Correspondent Anna King reports.

Energy Northwest

The federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission is looking into an 11-year emergency planning mistake at the Northwest’s only commercial nuclear power plant. Officials at the Columbia Generating Station in southeast Washington used faulty estimates of how much radiation could escape during a crisis.

Anna King / Northwest News Network

Hundreds of employees of the Northwest’s only commercial nuclear power plant celebrated Thursday. The Columbia Generating Station now is licensed to run for another 20 years. Correspondent Anna King was there.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved the new 20 year license. That means the plant in southeast Washington will send up plumes of steam, visible for long distances across the desert until 2043. It took employees 5 years to finish the application process. Carl Adrian heads the Tri-City Development Council. He says the plant is an important employer here, but it’s more than that.

Photo courtesy DNFSB video

The Hanford Nuclear Reservation’s waste treatment plant is making progress on improving its safety culture. That’s the upshot of a hearing Tuesday in Washington, D.C. before a federal nuclear watchdog agency. But not everyone familiar with the nuclear site agreed with that positive assessment.

The Department of Energy and its Hanford contractors have been under intense scrutiny after several whistleblowers and federal investigators found a “flawed” safety culture at the nuclear site. The hearing at the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board was a progress report.

Photo courtesy of Energy Northwest

The Northwest’s only commercial nuclear power plant appears to have won permission to operate for another 20 years. That’s the word Friday from Energy Northwest, which operates the Columbia Generating Station in southeast Washington.

Photo credit: Donald Wall / Northwest News Network

The nuclear industry faces a generation gap. A lot of the people who run nuclear power plants are nearing retirement. Now the Obama Administration has awarded $6.3 million to Northwest universities to help train the next generation of nuclear leaders.

Donald Wall directs Washington State University’s Nuclear Radiation Center in Pullman. The reactor is surrounded by the university’s golf course.

Photo courtesy of NRC.gov

The utility Energy Northwest is launching a new TV ad campaign to improve the image of nuclear power. But as correspondent Anna King reports, the ads touting nuclear energy as green might be a tough sell.

Energy Northwest operates the only commercial nuclear power plant in the region. It’s called the Columbia Generating Station in Richland.

Photo credit: Anna King / Northwest News Network

RICHLAND, Wash. – The Department of Energy says a Hanford contractor tried to interfere with an investigation into nuclear safety at the site. That’s according to letters from top Energy officials in an ongoing debate over the site’s safety culture. Correspondent Anna King reports.

Energy Northwest / Northwest News Network

RICHLAND, Wash. – The Northwest’s only commercial nuclear reactor has received its final safety evaluation report from the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission. That’s an important milestone in the effort to re-license the reactor for an additional 20 years near Richland, Washington.

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