The Northwest’s only nuclear plant has been approved to operate for an additional 20 years. The plant’s license was due to expire in 2023 but will now be extended through Dec. 20, 2043. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission signed the relicensing documents Tuesday, May 23, in Washington, D.C.

“Nuclear power has its place in the current and future production of electrical power for our nation,” said Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire. “I know that it can provide reliable and affordable baseload power over the very long term. It can produce that power without greenhouse gas emissions. That is why I endorsed the relicensing of our plant. It is a cornerstone of power production in the Pacific Northwest.”

The Columbia Generating Station has the capacity to produce more than 1,100 megawatts of power, enough to serve a city the size of Seattle. On average, it provides about 10 percent of the power that is marketed by BPA.

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