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Environmental groups sue Washington over nuclear plant’s effect on Columbia River via The Oregonian

SPOKANE — Three environmental groups are suing a state agency over the impacts of the Northwest’s only commercial nuclear power plant on the water quality of the Columbia River.

Northwest Environmental Defense Center, Northwest Environmental Advocates, and Columbia Riverkeeper will file the lawsuit Thursday in Thurston County Superior Court against the Washington Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council.

The council in 2006 issued the water pollution permit for Energy Northwest‘s Columbia Generating Station, which is located on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. The station uses 20 million gallons of water from the river every day to cool the nuclear reactor.

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“Experts from the National Marine Fisheries Service sounded the alarm about how this facility may be killing and harming endangered salmon,” said Mala Nelson, attorney for the Northwest Environmental Defense Center. “EFSEC’s blatant disregard for this input demands judicial oversight.”

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“This nuclear reactor is one of many sources of toxic chemicals that are contaminating the fish and wildlife of the Columbia River, including heavy metals from Hanford operations,” said Nina Bell, executive director of Northwest Environmental Advocates.

“State and federal agencies give a lot of lip service to protecting Columbia River water quality and species but when it comes to actually restricting the polluters, these same agencies are nowhere to be found,” Bell said.

The portion of the Columbia River that flows past the reactor contains some of the most productive salmon spawning areas in the Northwest, including the largest remaining stock of wild fall Chinook salmon in the Columbia River, the environmental groups said.

“People regularly eat salmon and other fish caught just offshore and downstream of Energy Northwest’s facility,” said Dan Serres of Columbia Riverkeeper.

Read more at Environmental groups sue Washington over nuclear plant’s effect on Columbia River

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