Monday, May 14, 2012

Inside Columbia Generating Station

Excellent, well-organized video of Columbia Generating Station, a GE Type 5 Boiling Water Reactor near Richland Washington. This is a big unit, 1150 MW, but much of the video will look very familiar to those who have visited Vermont Yankee.


Kit P said...

Great video! If you listed key performance indicators (KPI) I would be surprised if woops was not among the 5 worst utilities at running nukes.

Meredith Angwin said...

Kit. I'm not clear what to make of your comment. WPPS was called WOOPS for good reason, but this plant is run by a different company. Are you saying this isn't a good video? Or this isn't a good plant? Or both? Or neither?

Kit P said...

Great video, great power plant!

Lots of great people work there too. The Supply System may have changed their name but I still see lots of evidence that they are not doing a good job of running the plant compared to how others run the same design.

Meredith Angwin said...

Kit. Thanks for the clarification. You mean we don't live in Lake Wobegon, where all the children are above average? ;-)

Pete51 said...

Here is a link to the NRC performance indicator trends for the Columbia Station.

Everything looks to be in the Green.

If you are interested, here is VY.

Meredith Angwin said...

Thank you. Looks like they are both good plants!

Kit P said...

Meredith I do not think you get it, the standard is flawless human performance and there is no reason to except less. Operational excellence is how we produce reliable and affordable power. Mistakes get people killed in the power industry. Good is not good enough.

So Peter did you notice the length of Columbia Generating Station last refueling outage?

WPPSS is why I got out of nuclear power for a few years. It violates my ethics to work at a nuke plant where bringing up safety concerns is inhibited by fear of losing one's livelihood. Columbia Generating Station came within 6 months of being closed because of poor economic performance.

Clearly Columbia Generating Station is doing better. Good plants run breaker to breaker and have refueling outages that finish ahead of schedule. The also have no OSHA reportable accidents and of course all the NRC green KPI.

Nuke plants are part of the real world. Tornadoes take out power lines and plants get shaken by earthquakes. How does management respond? Great plants detect problems before the room fills with smoke. They learn from the experience of others.

Using the Lake Wobegon analogy, nuclear power is like all the kids at Lake Wobegon High getting perfect scores on the SATs except the one below average who in the 95% for the country. Not being at the top is not a bad thing if the top is a very high standard..

My point is that Columbia Generating Station is near the bottom of an industry with very high standards.

A public relations campaign is often not a good sign.

Pete51 said...

"So Peter did you notice the length of Columbia Generating Station last refueling outage?"

The outage took longer than expected because they replaced the main condenser. That kind of large, complicated job is not a routine maintenance activity, and it should not be a surprise that unexpected problems arose, which were then overcome. Eventually, the courts will decide if the contractor (B&W) or the utility is to blame for the delays.

Meredith Angwin said...

Columbia just got it's license renewal! Pleased to see it!