Columbia Generating Station

Columbia Generating Station produces approximately 1,190 megawatts of electricity, equivalent to about 10 percent of Washington's power and 4 percent of all the electric power used in the Pacific Northwest.

It is the only commercial nuclear energy facility in the region. All of its output is provided to the Bonneville Power Administration at the cost of production under a formal “net billing” agreement in which BPA pays the costs of maintaining and operating the facility.

Columbia began delivering power to the region in 1984. Since then it has provided billions of dollars worth of electricity while emitting virtually no greenhouse gases or carbon emissions commonly associated with natural gas, coal and other fossil fuel powered plants. 

Benefits to the Region

Nuclear power is a reliable energy producer. Columbia is not dependent on weather conditions as are hydro, wind and solar generation facilities. Nuclear plants produce electricity 24-hours a day, seven days a week.  

Refueling and maintenance outages occur every other year and are scheduled when springtime water conditions in the Columbia River Basin are typically high, allowing the federal hydropower dams to produce ample supplies of power.​ 

Nuclear Energy in the Northwest:
Today and Tomorrow

Click here to view the NWPPA Bulletin August 2015 article





nuclear101.png Learn more about nuclear power


See also:
Environmental Benefits
Low Cost of Clean Power
How Columbia Makes Electricity ​​

C-Bullet.jpg See Also:

Strategic Fuel Purchases


C-Bullet.jpg Quick Facts

Boiling water reactor (nuclear)

Generating Capacity:

Approximately 1,190 megawatts (net)

10 miles north of Richland, Wash.
Site Size:
~1,089 acres

Projected Levelized
Cost of Power

4.7 - 5.2 cents/kWh

Comparison Costs*: 
Natural Gas: 6 - 14 cents/kWh
Wind: 7 - 10 cents/kWh
Solar: 11 - 42 cents/kWh 

*Levelized costs according to the Energy Information Administration. Levelized cost represents the per kilowatt-hour cost (in real dollars) of building and operating a generating plant over an assumed financial life and duty cycle. Key inputs to calculating levelized costs include overnight capital costs, fuel costs, fixed and variable operations and maintenance costs, financing costs and an assumed utilization rate for each plant type.

C-History.jpg History


Construction Permit Issued:
March 1973

NRC Issued Plant Operating License:
December 1983

Operating License Expiration:
December 2043

First Electricity Produced:
May 1984

Commercial Operation:
December 1984

First Refueling Completed:
April 1986