Results from investigation into Columbia Generating Station released to the public

HANFORD, WA. -- The findings from the first of a two-part investigation looking into allegations made about Energy Northwest and the nuclear power plant is out.

It all started with an anonymous letter sent by someone claiming to be an employee of Energy Northwest. 

In all, 5 letters have been sent, one very recently. In the letters, the anonymous employee brought forward 6 allegations. Some of them included the declining performance at Columbia Generating Station being purposefully hidden from the public, they also claim an injury at the plant was downplayed and that security officers at the plant were taking nude photos while on duty.

An independent law firm named Pillsbury was hired to look into the allegations. Wednesday they released an in-depth, 82-page report to the public. 

Many of the findings were unsubstantiated, while others were true, but handled appropriately by Energy Northwest. Some allegations were found to be only partly true. 

The report did conclude that communication should be improved between management and employees at the Columbia Generating Station. 

"In all of the data that they reviewed, in all of the people they talked to, they found no evidence that the plant was being operated unsafely," Skip Orser, from the Nuclear Oversight and Safety Committee said. "And that was very good information for us to know." 

"In fact I just asked management how many corrective action programs do we have? And it's in the hundreds," Sid Morrison from Energy Northwest said. "So these things are at work all the time. And we just want to employ some now in the areas that these letters, no matter who wrote them, brought to our attention. Clearly communication is one of them."

The investigation isn't finished yet. What was released Wednesday was just phase 1. 

Phase 2 will look into whether employees feel comfortable raising concerns to management since this person felt the need to write anonymous letters rather than coming forward in person. 


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