The nuclear power plant near Richland pushed a record 9.34 million mega-watt-hours of electricity onto the grid in 2012.
It was a year of records for the plant, potentially signaling a turnaround following some difficult years for Energy Northwests Columbia Generating Station.
In 2011, the plant had its longest outage ever about 175 days when a condenser replacement did not go as planned. In 2010, the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations, an industry group, rated the plant as one of two in the nation most in need of operational and staff performance improvement.
That followed six un-planned shutdowns in late 2008 through November 2009.
But the record power delivery in 2012 was due in part to a run that was continuous other than a planned 10-day maintenance outage in May. It also was due to ongoing maintenance and the condenser replacement that made operations more efficient, according to Energy Northwest officials.
The plant, which produces almost 10 percent of the electricity generated in Washington, has had no unplanned shutdowns for more than three years.
Results of November peer reviews by commercial nuclear power professionals have recognized the progress the plant has made, Mark Reddemann, Energy Northwest chief executive, said at a Wednesday board meeting in Pasco.
Reddemann, hired in summer 2010, and the leadership team he has put in place began a four-phase Excellence in Performance Initiative a year later to improve performance at the plant. Its now in its second phase demonstrating results.
Peer reviews from the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations and the World Association of Nuclear Operators said management now needs to start institutionalizing changes to make sure excellence is sustained as it is achieved.
Among changes they liked were communication initiatives within the plant, in depth assessments of managers and supervisors, and the way the Bonneville Power Administration and Energy Northwest executive board have been engaged in progress, said Brad Sawatzke, vice president of nuclear generation.
Safety and other records were set in 2012 in addition to the nuclear plant transmission record.
Energy Northwests Nine Canyon Wind Project south of Kennewick surpassed 2 million megawatt hours of lifetime generation since its development in 2002.
Energy Northwest started its longest stretch, 219 days, without an accident among its 1,100 employees that was required to be reported to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in 2012. The nuclear plant also had its lowest number of OSHA reportable accidents of any kind.
In addition, workers had the lowest exposure to radiation during the year in the nuclear plants history.
Other plant records were set in reducing the potential distractions to nuclear operators, in the small size of the maintenance backlog and in equipment reliability.
-- Annette Cary: 582-1533; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @HanfordNews