NEAR RICHLAND, Wash.—The only nuclear power plant in the state, the Columbia Generating Station, is officially shut down.
The outage will be the longest in the history of Energy Northwest giving time for workers to install a multi-million dollar project. The outage will last 80 days giving time for workers to do routine maintenance.
However, the big project is replacing the plant's 25-year-old condenser. It's an operation that is worth $113-million.
The project won't cost taxpayers any money. Energy Northwest is a non-profit. All the electricity they produce is sold at cost to Bonneville Power Administration. The condenser replacement has been planned for and is in their budget.
A representative says the outage will accomplish two main things.
"What it gets down to is efficiency, safety and reliability and those are the three things that we are going to be improving through this almost 80 days," says John Dobken, Energy Northwest.
The outage will prevent the number of times workers will have to power down and replace equipment, which increases safety. In addition to the condenser workers will add new nuclear fuel.
This will be the largest scope project in the 26-year history of the plant.