Columbia Generating Plant - Washington State

Columbia Generating Plant, formerly WNP-2, is the sole survivor of a group of 5 nuclear plants originally planned for operation in the state of Washington.  Energy Northwest, a Washington state agency,  is the owner and operator who supplies the plant's output to the Bonneville Power Administration. Columbia has a General Electric BWR-5 reactor rated at approximately 1150 MWe. The unit is located 12 miles north of Richland on the Department of Energy's Hanford site.

Columbia started operation in 1984. The reactor has 764 fuel assemblies of the 8x8 and 9x9 designs. The core during a refueling is shown below. (23713 bytes)

The containment is the newer Mark II design (45 lbs. per square inch) with a suppression pool (~960,000 gallons), rather than a torus. Cooling of the main condenser water is provided by mechanical draft cooling towers.

Water from the condenser is supplied to the reactor via 3 condensate pumps (160 psi), 3 condensate booster pumps (400 psi) and 2 steam-driven feedwater pumps which raise pressure to ~1150 psi.

Courtesy Seattle Times

Inside the BWR Power Plant provides graphics and photos illustrating equipment and systems used in BWRs  The suppression pool serves the same function as the torus in the photos. Columbia uses spray ponds as the source of water for the ultimate heat sink. Other plants typically use a river or lake. Cooling towers discharge the residual heat to the atmosphere since Columbia typically does not discharge heat to the Columbia River.

For emergency equipment, Columbia has:

The Part III - Hanford Site section of the 1995 Seattle Times article, 50 Years from Trinity, provides a news reporter's first-hand account of what it's like above a reactor during refueling and a commentary about the Columbia Generating Station and nuclear power in the Pacific Northwest.

See the US plant address, plants, and map pages for more information.

Copyright 1996-2006.  The Virtual Nuclear Tourist. All rights reserved. Revised: January 11, 2006.