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NRC approves Energy Northwest uprate request for Columbia plant

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission on May 31 authorized Energy Northwest to increase the generation capacity of its Columbia nuclear station to 1,210 MW from 1,190 MW, saying the facility's design can manage the increased power levels. By more accurately measuring feedwater flow, NRC staff found that Energy Northwest could safely increase the reactor's output.

The evaluation was based upon considerations including the nuclear steam supply system, instrumentation and control systems, electrical systems, accident evaluations, radiological consequences, fire protection, operations and training, testing, and technical specification changes.

The company intended to implement the 1.7% uprate beginning in May. The Columbia plant is in Benton County, Wash.