Washington plant sets record for longest continuous operation -- 683 days

Energy Northwest’s Columbia generating station set a record for its longest continuous operation – 683 days – before its reactor was shut down Saturday for biennial refueling and maintenance, the company said.

The plant achieved what’s known as a “breaker-to-breaker” run for the first time in its 30-year history, meaning it operated nonstop since reconnecting to the grid on June 25, 2013, following its previous refueling outage. Columbia operated every day in 2014 and in November broke its previous record – 505 days set in April 2011 – for consecutive days online.

Energy Northwest CEO Mark Reddemann said that during the record run, Columbia produced nearly 18 million megawatt-hours of electricity and operated at more than 98 percent capacity.

“This record is about keeping our commitment to the region to produce clean, reliable and cost-effective power for the long term,” Reddemann said. “I’m proud of our team and their many accomplishments over the last two years.”

Columbia’s 42-day refueling and maintenance outage will include several major projects and the loading of 248 new, higher-efficiency, nuclear fuel assemblies into the reactor core. An additional 1,500 skilled workers were hired locally and from across the country for plant maintenance projects.