Report: Closing Columbia Generating Station Must Happen Within 5 to 15 Years

Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility has released a fifteen-page report outlining the reasons why the Columbia Generating Station (CGS) nuclear power plant on the banks of the Columbia River in Eastern Washington must have a plan for decommissioning within the next 5 to 15 years. The CGS is a 35-year-old General Electric boiling water reactor similar to the one that melted down in Fukushima, Japan in 2011. Nuclear reactors of this type have never operated for longer than 50 years, and as reactors get older, the chances rise of a failure due to wear-out as well as increased costs from maintenance needs as parts get older and require replacement and repair.

The report cites the model example of the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant closure agreement from 2018 in California, which guarantees renewable power replacement and retraining for workers and was agreed upon by its utility, labor groups, and environmental partners. The report also covers some of the health and safety concerns about the CGS, including the pollution caused by the nuclear fuel cycle of extracting uranium and the unsolved problem of responsibly disposing of nuclear waste. It also cites the well-researched economic issues with the CGS and its lack of alignment with many climate commitments and renewable energy goals in Pacific Northwest jurisdictions including the City of Portland, Multnomah County, Bellingham, WA, and more.

Read the full report.

FS157 Figure 1 bathtub-nrc-ml13044a469

This figure shows the bathtub curve model of failure rate as a function of time. Courtesy of Union of Concerned Scientists: