The Washington State Governor’s Office and Department of Ecology are still evaluating an assessment by anti-nuclear groups that the state’s only nuclear power plant is not designed to handle updated earthquake risks.
Neither agency is ready to comment on the report which called on the Columbia Generating Station near Richland to close down until it can be re-evaluated to the newer earthquake estimates.
The assessment by the Washington and Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility said the plant was built to 30 year old seismic standards which greatly underestimated the strength and location of possible quakes.
State Representative Gerald Pollet said today work was halted and seismic standards were upgraded on other projects being built when a report revising the earthquake risks of the region was released in 2005. But, he said The Colombia Generating Station is still producing power with no plans for a seismic update.
A spokesman for the Columbia Generating Station said there is no need to shut down because the plant was built to safety standards far above and beyond the earlier earth quake estimates. Assistant Vice President of Engineering Dave Swank said the facility is waiting for results from a larger study currently underway by the Pacific Northwest Laboratory in Richland.
The nuclear power plant is located on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation but is owned by Energy Northwest which is a consortium of utility companies.