May 4, 2011
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Carl Golightly leads a tour of the Columbia Generating Station on Tuesday, May 3, 2011, during their planned outage for refueling. The nuclear power plant was built in 1984 and scheduled to run through 2024 but will apply for a 20 extension to 2044.

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Operators go through check lists at the main board of the control room at the Columbia Generating Station on Tuesday, May 3, 2011. The Tri-Cities area nuclear power plant is going through a planned outage for refueling for 78 days until June 15, 2011.

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Operators go through check lists at the main board of the control room at the Columbia Generating Station on Tuesday, May 3, 2011. The Tri-Cities area nuclear power plant is going through a planned outage for refueling for 78 days until June 15, 2011.

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A large multi-sided display shows the position of each fuel rod in the reactor at the Columbia Generating Station on Tuesday, May 3, 2011. The Tri-Cities area nuclear power plant is going through a planned outage for refueling for 78 days until June 15, 2011.

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Keys are set in alarm switches in the main control room at the Columbia Generating Station on Tuesday, May 3, 2011. The Tri-Cities area nuclear power plant is going through a planned outage for refueling for 78 days until June 15, 2011.

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An outdated and retired computer system sits at right in the main control room at the Columbia Generating Station on Tuesday, May 3, 2011. Some of the 1980’s era equipment is being updated now that spare parts are not available through any vendor or eBay. The Tri-Cities area nuclear power plant is going through a planned outage for refueling for 78 days until June 15, 2011.

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A direct line to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission sits at the ready in the main control room at the Columbia Generating Station on Tuesday, May 3, 2011. The Tri-Cities area nuclear power plant is going through a planned outage for refueling for 78 days until June 15, 2011.

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Workers involved in the upgrades at the Columbia Generating Station change into protective clothing on Tuesday, May 3, 2011. The Tri-Cities area nuclear power plant is going through a planned outage for refueling for 78 days until June 15, 2011.

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Workers don protective clothing before entering the reactor building at the Columbia Generating Station on Tuesday, May 3, 2011. The Tri-Cities area nuclear power plant is going through a planned outage for refueling for 78 days until June 15, 2011.

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A worker dressed in protective clothes holds two “skates” used in moving heavy equipment as he waits for an elevator at the Columbia Generating Station on Tuesday, May 3, 2011. The Tri-Cities area nuclear power plant is going through a planned outage for refueling for 78 days until June 15, 2011.

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A worker dressed in protective clothing waits to enter the reactor area at the Columbia Generating Station on Tuesday, May 3, 2011. 1800 extra workers are at the Tri-Cities area nuclear power plant as it goes through a planned outage for refueling for 78 days until June 15, 2011.

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Orange drapes cover the condensor as work crews rebuild it to make be more efficient at the Columbia Generating Station on Tuesday, May 3, 2011. The expected 12 megawatt gain will power more than 12,000 average homes. The Tri-Cities area nuclear power plant is going through a planned outage for refueling for 78 days until June 15, 2011.

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Orange drapes cover the condensor as work crews rebuild it to make be more efficient at the Columbia Generating Station on Tuesday, May 3, 2011. The expected 12 megawatt gain will power more than 12,000 average homes. The Tri-Cities area nuclear power plant is going through a planned outage for refueling for 78 days until June 15, 2011.

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Brightly colored ribbons and flags mark dangerous areas at the Columbia Generating Station on Tuesday, May 3, 2011. The Tri-Cities area nuclear power plant is going through a planned outage for refueling for 78 days until June 15, 2011.

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Brightly colored ribbons and flags mark dangerous areas at the Columbia Generating Station on Tuesday, May 3, 2011. The Tri-Cities area nuclear power plant is going through a planned outage for refueling for 78 days until June 15, 2011.

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Crews working at the Columbia Generating Station are framed by the empty generator on Tuesday, May 3, 2011. The Tri-Cities area nuclear power plant is going through a planned outage for refueling for 78 days until June 15, 2011.

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Crews working at the Columbia Generating Station are framed by the empty generator on Tuesday, May 3, 2011. The Tri-Cities area nuclear power plant is going through a planned outage for refueling for 78 days until June 15, 2011.

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Very well trained and heavily armed guards patrol both inside and outside the plant at the Columbia Generating Station on Tuesday, May 3, 2011. The Tri-Cities area nuclear power plant is going through a planned outage for refueling for 78 days until June 15, 2011.

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A remote monitor shows the reactor core while the huge shielding cap sits removed in the background at the Columbia Generating Station on Tuesday, May 3, 2011. The Tri-Cities area nuclear power plant is going through a planned outage for refueling for 78 days until June 15, 2011.

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Work crews in protective clothing work on the refueling floor at the Columbia Generating Station on Tuesday, May 3, 2011. The water tank in foreground holds the used fuel rods and the reactor core is at far right. The Tri-Cities area nuclear power plant is going through a planned outage for refueling for 78 days until June 15, 2011.

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Work crews in protective clothing work on the refueling floor at the Columbia Generating Station on Tuesday, May 3, 2011. The water tank in foreground holds the used fuel rods and the reactor core is at far right. The Tri-Cities area nuclear power plant is going through a planned outage for refueling for 78 days until June 15, 2011.

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Work crews in protective clothing work on the refueling floor at the Columbia Generating Station on Tuesday, May 3, 2011. The water tank in foreground holds the used fuel rods and the reactor core is at far right. The Tri-Cities area nuclear power plant is going through a planned outage for refueling for 78 days until June 15, 2011.

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Work crews in protective clothing work on the refueling floor at the Columbia Generating Station on Tuesday, May 3, 2011. The water tank in foreground holds the used fuel rods and the reactor core is at far right. The Tri-Cities area nuclear power plant is going through a planned outage for refueling for 78 days until June 15, 2011.

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Work crews in protective clothing work on the refueling floor at the Columbia Generating Station on Tuesday, May 3, 2011. The water tank in foreground holds the used fuel rods and the reactor core is at far right. The Tri-Cities area nuclear power plant is going through a planned outage for refueling for 78 days until June 15, 2011.

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Workers leaving the reactor building are scanned for radiation and contaminants at the Columbia Generating Station on Tuesday, May 3, 2011. The Tri-Cities area nuclear power plant is going through a planned outage for refueling for 78 days until June 15, 2011.

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Power lines leave the plant at left and hook up to BPA lines at the Columbia Generating Station on Tuesday, May 3, 2011. The Tri-Cities area nuclear power plant is going through a planned outage for refueling for 78 days until June 15, 2011.

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Used fuel rods are encased in several protective layers and stored under heavy security at the Columbia Generating Station on Tuesday, May 3, 2011. Ninety-seven percent of the fuel could be recycled but at this time it is cheaper to just creat new fuel.The Tri-Cities area nuclear power plant is going through a planned outage for refueling for 78 days until June 15, 2011.

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Used fuel rods are encased in several protective layers and stored under heavy security at the Columbia Generating Station on Tuesday, May 3, 2011. Ninety-seven percent of the fuel could be recycled but at this time it is cheaper to just creat new fuel.The Tri-Cities area nuclear power plant is going through a planned outage for refueling for 78 days until June 15, 2011.

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The Columbia Generating Station on Tuesday, May 3, 2011. The Tri-Cities area nuclear power plant is going through a planned outage for refueling for 78 days until June 15, 2011.