Hanford

Nuclear power plant near Richland could be operating soon

The Columbia Generating Station near Richland was shut down Monday afternoon, the first unplanned shutdown in more than six years.
The Columbia Generating Station near Richland was shut down Monday afternoon, the first unplanned shutdown in more than six years. Tri-City Herald file

The nuclear power plant near Richland should be back on the electric grid by the end of the week and be ramping up to full power again, according to Energy Northwest.

Energy Northwest confirmed Tuesday that the problem that had caused the plant to be suddenly shutdown Monday afternoon was related to maintenance on a valve.

After maintenance, the valve was being opened and closed to make sure it worked, said John Dobken, Energy Northwest spokesman. But it was not isolated before it was checked and water for a system used to cool pumps and heat exchangers was diverted into some side piping.

The Columbia Generating Station got a signal in its control room that water was low in the cooling system and operators shut the plant down to protect equipment from being damaged by heat.

All systems worked as designed and the shutdown was “done safely and by the book,” Dobken said.

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