Hanford

Initial report finds Richland nuclear plant operating safely

Workers at Energy Northwest's Columbia Generating Station nuclear power plant enter and exit machines that scan them for radiation following their work shifts.
Workers at Energy Northwest's Columbia Generating Station nuclear power plant enter and exit machines that scan them for radiation following their work shifts.

An independent look at allegations in an anonymous letter to Energy Northwest has found no evidence that the nuclear power plant near Richland is being operated unsafely, said Skip Orser, an Energy Northwest Executive Board member.

However, the investigation remains in an early stage.

Representatives of the Pillsbury law firm hired to investigate have been at the Columbia Generating Station for about 10 days gathering documents and conducting interviews. The data collected still must be analyzed.

A committee, led by Orser, that was formed for the investigation and the executive board held closed door meetings Wednesday morning in Kennewick and then met in open session in the afternoon. A more thorough progress report on the investigation is expected to be given to the board in late March.

Unsigned letters that indicated they were from Energy Northwest employees alleged that information about sub-par performance of the plant was being withheld from Energy Northwest governing boards. Performance metrics at the plant compared to other U.S. plants dropped after the last refueling outage.

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