Following initial startup testing, NRC issued a
full power OL in March 1984 and commercial operations commenced in December 1984. WNP-2 has a net design electrical rating of 1,190 megawatts and the entire output of the
plant has been acquired by the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) through a Net
Billing Agreement. Since beginning commercial operation, WNP-2 has operated at
a cumulative capacity factor of 59.9% (as of August 1996) and has generated over 77
million megawatt-hours of electric power through January 1998.
The Columbia Generating Station consists of a General Electric designed
boiling water reactor and nuclear steam supply system; a turbine-generator; and the
necessary transformer switching and transmission facilities to deliver the plants
output to the Federal System at a transmission substation located near the plant.
The project consists of the following structures: the reactor building, the radioactive
waste building, the turbine-generator building, the diesel generator building, the service
building, six mechanical-draft evaporative cooling towers, the circulating water
pumphouse, and the river makeup water pumphouse. The station also includes the Plant
Engineering Center located adjacent to the main plant, the Plant Support Facility located
one mile southwest of the main plant, and various administrative buildings in Richland.
Energy Northwest's highest priority continues to be
to operate the Columbia Generating Station safely, reliably, and economically. Strategic planning efforts have
focused on achieving cost competitiveness in the regional energy market. As energy
prices continue to drop, the most pressing challenge facing Energy
Northwest is to lower
the cost of power produced by the Columbia Generating Station. A key factor in providing cost-competitive
power is continued improvement of the reliability of the electrical output of the plant.
Beginning in 1993, Energy
Northwest has brought
in senior managers from some of the top performing nuclear plants in the industry.
This management team has brought increased focus on accountability, human performance,
professionalism, and quality operation of the plant. The major concerns relating to
plant reliability and efficiency were immediately and aggressively addressed.
Significant expenditures were made for major maintenance activities and capital
improvements. The performance enhancement initiatives have produced significant
positive results in actual plant performance over the past four years.
In FY 1997, the Columbia
Generating Station set a record with 270 days of
continuous operation, the longest operating run in the plants 12-year history.
The availability factor that went along with that operating run was 83.7%, another
Columbia Generating Station record. The availability factor measures what percent of the entire year the plant
was either operating or available to operate. During the first half of FY 98, the
plant has continued this operational trend by exceeding generation records in the winter
months and is currently in its fourth longest consecutive run at over 220 days.
The installation of the new Adjustable Speed
Drives and Digital Feedwater systems made the plant the first in the nation with this
combination of computerized controls for adjusting plant power levels and feedwater flow
into the reactor vessel. While there were problems with both systems, these systems
allowed operators to change reactor power level on demand. This capability made it
possible for the plant to operate in a load cycling mode where it was able to
vary power levels on a daily and weekend basis in response to the power needs of
BPA. BPA has publicly commended the plant for its enhanced reliability and
integration with the hydro-based Federal System.
Operational and maintenance improvements have
also resulted in the lowering of radiation exposure for Columbia
Generating Station workers. Beginning a
trend that began in 1995, the plant has gone from having one of the highest exposure rates
in the industry to being in the lower one-third.
The success in achieving higher performance
standards at the Columbia Generating Station has resulted in improved SALP ratings from the NRC. The
Systematic Assessment of Licensee Performance (SALP) is an NRC inspection process that
takes place over a 14-month time period that assesses the plants performance in the
areas of Maintenance, Operations, Engineering, and Plant Support. For the period
September 3, 1995 through March 1, 1997, Columbia Generating Station received a score of 2 in each of the four
areas indicating good performance in all areas ( the rating scale is 1 to 3; with 1 being
the highest and 3 the lowest). The report noted that Columbia
Generating Station had made significant
improvements as a whole since the previous rating period, but cautioned that there were
still areas and issues that needed close attention. The plant also received improved
marks from a peer review conducted by the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations in late
Energy Northwest has also been successful in
reducing the cost of Columbia Generating Station power during the past four years. The regional cost
of the station has decreased from $251 million in FY1994 to $171.6 million in FY 1997.
The current planning target is to have that cost down to $150 million in FY 2000 that
would bring the cost to less than 2 cents per kilowatt-hour.
The events of
September 11, 2001, focused public attention on the issue of emergency
planning for the nation's commercial nuclear power plants, such as the
Columbia Generating Station. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the
Federal Emergency Management Agency set specific criteria to be used by
nuclear plant owners in the event of a radiological emergency. To meet these
requirements, Energy Northwest developed the News Media Handbook to impart
factual, accurate, and easy-to-understand information to the public in the
event of a radiological emergency at Columbia Generating Station.
The handbook also contains information on plant operations and systems.
For additional information
regarding the Columbia Generation Facility please contact:
Jim LaSpina, EFSEC
Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council
1300 S. Evergreen Park Dr
PO Box 43172
Olympia, WA 98504-3172
Top of page
Nuclear Project Nos. 3
and 5 (WNP-3/5)
Projects 3 and 5 were partially completed nuclear
projects located on the Satsop Site on approximately 1600 acres near Elma, Washington, in
Grays Harbor County.
The Washington Public Power Supply System filed an application for the
construction and operation of the twin 3 and 5 projects in December 1973. Hearings
were held from August to November 1975 and an SCA was signed on October 27, 1976.
WNP-3: Construction began on WNP-3 in
1977. The project is jointly owned, 70% by the Supply System (BPA has acquired the
Supply Systems ownership share of Project 3 through a net billing agreement); and
30% by four investor-owned utilities (Pacific Power & Light, Portland General
Electric, Puget Sound Power & light, and Washington Water Power).
As noted above, in 1980 the Supply System made
major management changes and took initiatives to: bring in an experienced construction
manager for all the projects (Bechtel); reduce unnecessary expenditures; secure changes in
state contracting laws; stabilize labor agreements; and identify the true costs to
complete the projects.
The results of these reforms were evident in all
the projects, but were probably most obvious at WNP-3 which became known as the Supply
Systems showcase project before it was reluctantly placed in an extended
construction delay in July 1983. The construction pace doubled from around 1%
completion a month to an average of 2% per month in 1982. During that time about a
quarter of the plant was completed, advancing it from 42.9% in 12/81 to 68.2% in December
1982.But despite the reforms and excellent construction progress, it was necessary for the
either delay or terminate at four of its projects in 1982-83.
The Supply Systems worsening financial
condition in 1983 led to the reluctant decision in July 1983 to delay construction on
WNP-3 for up to three years. That decision stemmed from the Supply System being
prevented from raising the $961 million needed to complete WNP-3 from revenue sale
bonds. At the time construction was halted, the project was about 76% complete and
just about to make the transition from the primary construction phase to testing, startup,
Just as at WNP-1 at Hanford, WNP-3 then entered
into a preservation program that was designed to preserve the equipment and construction
licenses so that the plants could be restarted at some future date if the region decided
they were needed. This program involved such steps as wrapping the electric
switching gear in plastic, purging the steam generators with an inert gas, rotating
turbine generator shafts every six months, and at Satsop, maintaining a vigorous humidity
and moisture control regime to prevent corrosion on the many pieces of equipment both
inside and outside the plant. The costs of the preservation program were paid by BPA
as the 1 and 3 plants were identified as options or possible future resources
if they were cost-effective and financing impediments could be lifted.
In April 1993, the Supply System Executive Board
recommended termination studies for Projects 1 and 3. The realization that
completion of the projects as commercial nuclear power plants was unlikely, prompted the
boards action. Preservation activities would continue until the results of the
Supply System/BPA study was completed.
On May 13, 1994, based on the recommendations of
the study, the Supply System board adopted resolutions terminating Nuclear Projects 1 and
3. Preservation funding was to be continued through January 1995 while the Supply
System evaluated alternative uses for and to facilitate the marketing of the
projects. Since that date, the Supply System has been planning for the demolition of
the projects and restoration of the sites. Funding has continued for the
administrative activities associated with termination and planning for
restoration/demolition for both the 3 and 1 projects.
In March 1995, the Supply System submitted a Site
Restoration Plan to EFSEC pursuant to the Councils site restoration regulations for
terminated projects. On June 12, 1995, the Council approved the Supply Systems
Plan for restoration of the 1, 3, 4, and 5 project sites. The plan focused on the
Satsop Site and plans to remove the assets, and restore the site by demolition, burial,
entombment, or other techniques that would minimize damage to the environment and hazard
to the public. The Supply System proposed to use the Satsop restoration experience
as a model for future restoration at the 1and 4 sites. In conditionally approving
the Supply Systems plan, the Council recognized that there was uncertainty in how
the plan would be implemented, and therefore reserved the opportunity to conduct
additional reviews once the details of the plan(s) were finalized. [Under the
termination agreements, BPA would continue to pay for the administrative expenses of
maintaining the plan and restoration activities at the net-billed 3 and 1 projects;
however, those projects would have no legal obligation to pay for 4 and 5.]
Also affecting the future of the Satsop Site, is
a plan developed by Grays Harbor County interests to use the site for economic development
purposes. During 1995, a group of county agencies formed the Satsop Redevelopment
Project to examine the potential for economic and industrial business opportunities at the
site. The group was instrumental in getting legislation passed in 1996 that would
enable local governments and the Supply System to negotiate an arrangement allowing the
locals to assume an interest in the site for economic development by transferring
ownership of all or a portion of the site to local government entities. The
legislation also provides for local government to assume regulatory responsibilities for
site restoration requirements and control of water rights.
Since the adoption of the legislation, the
county has completed studies on possible reuse or development of the site and entered into
discussions with the Supply System (and BPA) about possible alternative uses for the
site. The Supply System has advised the Council that they have reached an agreement
in principle to transfer the site to Grays Harbor County.
During this time the Supply System also applied
for, and was issued a Site Certification Agreement, to construct and operate a two-unit
combustion turbine project at the Satsop Site. The project (one-unit) was selected
as one of three combustion turbine power plants to be developed (designed and
permitted) and held as an option under BPAs Resource Contingency
Program. While there are no assurances that either unit will be needed, the SCA and
associated permits are good for a ten-year period.
WNP-5: Construction began in 1977. As
noted above in the discussion of WNP-4, based on the Supply Systems review of costs
required to complete the five projects under construction, and problems faced by the
Supply System and participants in finding financing to continue work on 4 and 5, on May
29, 1981, the Supply System board accepted a recommendation by Managing Director Bob
Ferguson to begin a six-month construction slowdown at the two projects. When
efforts to come up with a funding plan for a two-year mothball period failed,
on January 22, 1982 the Supply System board terminated Project 5 (and 4) when it was 16%
In 1996, the state legislature approved the transfer
of the Satsop Site to the Grays Harbor Public Development Authority.
Recently the Satsop Site has under gone industrial development, however
the unfinished nuclear power plant
structures have not been removed.
WNP-3/5 SCA Amendment
On June 25, 1998, Energy
Northwest filed a request with the Council to amend its SCA for the Satsop Power
Plant site. The existing SCA authorizes construction and operation of two nuclear power
plants (WNP-3 and WNP-5) and a combustion turbine (Satsop Combustion Turbine
Project). The purpose of the requested amendment is to remove the
authorization for the two nuclear power plants from the agreement. The
remaining agreement would continue to authorize the operation and
construction of the combustion turbine project with an associated natural
gas pipeline. The
Council held a public hearing and received comments on the proposed amendment. After
review of the request, and of ensuing comments, Council submitted a recommendation to the
Governor in Order 731.
Council Order No. 731: Order
Recommending Governor's Approval of Amendment of Site Certification
Agreement for Satsop Power Plant Site. April 20, 1999.