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Feds inspecting Hanford nuclear power plant

MONDAY, AUG. 17, 2009, 12:37 P.M.

RICHLAND — The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is conducting a special inspection of the power plant at the Hanford nuclear reservation because of the electrical fire that shut it down.

Although the Aug. 5 fire resulted in no danger to the public, the commission says inspectors want to understand why it happened and how such fires can be avoided.

Two inspectors beginning work Monday are expected to take several days to complete a report on the plant’s maintenance and operation by Energy Northwest.

The fire prompted the declaration of an “unusual event,” the lowest of four levels of nuclear emergencies.

The 25-year-old Columbia Generating Station is the only nuclear plant in the Northwest. It produces enough electricity for one million homes.

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