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Greenhouse Gas Impact of Nuclear Fuel Purchase from Paducah, KY, Enrichment Facility Also Highlighted

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SEATTLE, WA AND PORTLAND, OR - December 11, 2013 ( renewable energy stocks newswire) Ratepayers could save at least $1.7 billion over the next 17 years if the Columbia Generating Station nuclear power plant on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington State is closed according to a new report by McCullough Research of Portland, Oregon.

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The report can be found online at

The Columbia Generating Station, the only nuclear plant completed of the five plants begun by the Washington Public Power Supply System (WPPSS), contains a General Electric boiling water reactor similar to those destroyed during Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.

"We believe this report demonstrates clearly that aging nuclear reactors, in addition to having safety problems, are having trouble competing in the electric power market," says Dr. Catherine Thomasson, PSR national executive director. The report was commissioned by the Washington and Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility local affiliate chapter.

The report makes four recommendations: the plant should be displaced by less expensive market solutions; Bonneville Power Administration should ask suppliers for firm bids to displace the plant; the displacement power should be purchased by plant owner Energy Northwest and supplied to BPA under an existing contract; and Energy Northwest should use a combination of training and employing current workers in plant decommissioning.

"The Columbia Generating Station (CGS) analyzed by McCullough is one of the most uneconomic of the aging regulated reactors," said Dr. Mark Cooper, economist with the University of Vermont Law School, and author of a recent report on US nuclear plant economics.

McCullough notes that BPA paid $418,939,000 for operating the plant in FY 2013. "If BPA had purchased the same energy from the Mid-Columbia market at Dow Jones daily on-peak and off-peak prices, it would have paid $218,515,000. In sum, BPA paid $418,939,000 for $218,515,000 worth of energy. The difference, $200,424,000, would have had the impact of reducing BPA's rates by 10.67%."

"Robert McCullough's findings add to our opposition for continuing to operate this reactor," said Dr. John Pearson, Oregon PSR's immediate past president. "We already had grave concerns about its faulty GE nuclear plant design and recent scientific data showing greater seismic activity in the Mid-Columbia basin."

The report also states that although the plant is considered "carbon free," its owner, Energy Northwest, purchased nuclear fuel worth $700 million from a now-closed fuel enrichment plant in Paducah, Kentucky. "The dirty carbon footprint of nuclear power is not as well known as it should be," notes Susan Corbett, Chair of the Sierra Club Nuclear Free Campaign. "The fact that Energy Northwest served as the broker to run the dirty Paducah nuclear fuel plant for an additional year is a black eye for them and the industry as a whole."

Sierra Club and the Max and Anna Levinson Foundation assisted in the funding of McCullough's study.


Chuck Johnson, Oregon and Washington PSR: (503) 777-2794,

Robert McCullough, McCullough Research: (503) 777-4616; cellular (503)784-3758

NOTE: Robert McCullough, Washington PSR President Dr. Steven Gilbert, and Oregon PSR board member Dr. John Pearson are available for interviews.

A summary Q&A about the report is also available for reporters. Please contact Chuck Johnson at (503) 777-2794 or to request a copy.


Physicians for Social Responsibility, which was founded in 1961, has a national membership of 35,000 health care professionals and advocates and a total of 25 local chapters across the US. Guided by the values and expertise of medicine and public health, Physicians for Social Responsibility works to protect human life from the gravest threats to health and survival.

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