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Controversial Environmental Group Pushes for Early Shutdown of Hanford Nuclear Reactor

Columbia Generating Station
(Nuclear Regulatory Commission)

According to this group,  power from the Columbia Generating Station at Hanford is not needed.

The group Physicians for Social Responsibility have commissioned a report claiming that due to cheaper energy rates it would be feasible to shut down the Columbia Generating Station.

The group hired a Portland-area consultant who claims the dollar-per-megawatt cost for electricity is higher for that which is generated by the nuclear facility than what’s available in the open power market. McCullough Research performed the study for the group.

However, Energy Northwest has countered with data showing consumer costs for power would increase by about $2.5 billion dollars over the next 20 years if the plant were offline and replaced by energy derived from natural gas — which would have to be purchased.

Low projected wholesale power costs are one of the motivating factors behind the group pressuring for closure of the plant. They also claim costs for nuclear plants will increase because of potential modifications made to facilities across the U.S. in the wake of the Japanese Fukushima nuclear disaster. However, the Fukushima technology, while similar to that in the U.S., is older and less reliable that what is used in the U.S. today.

Physicians for Social Responsibility is a group that has been around for 50 years and is outspoken in its opposition to the development and use of nuclear power in the U.S. and around the world. They are also active in attacking the U.S. petroleum industry and push heavily for use of alternative energy.

Comprised of supposed physicians and experts, the group is funded by such groups as the Ploughshares Foundation, which is anti-nuclear, and the John Merck Foundation.

The group is based out of Washington D.C. and has chapters in many states, including Washington and Oregon.


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