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Northwest's Only Nuclear Plant Shuts Down Unexpectedly


Workers walk outside the power lines leading to the Northwest's only commercial nuclear power plant near Richland, Wash. on Tuesday, May 3, 2011.

Workers walk outside the power lines leading to the Northwest’s only commercial nuclear power plant near Richland, Wash. on Tuesday, May 3, 2011.

Shannon Dininny/AP

The Northwest’s only nuclear power plant shut down unexpectedly shortly before noon on Sunday.

The shutdown was caused by an equipment malfunction at the Bonneville Power Administration’s substation near the Columbia Generating Station, which is operated by Energy Northwest.

The Tri-City Herald reports that cold weather caused the loss of the 500-kilovolt line connecting the nuclear plant’s main output transformers to the substation.

The power plant’s operating crew successfully stabilized the plant and officials for Energy Northwest say it remains safe.

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