Newsweek on the nuclear power plant we featured in this week's issue


Newsweek has weighed in on the nuclear power plant we featured in this week's issue, digging into a deal that sent uranium from Kentucky to the Northwest at a wildly inflated price. How bad was it? It increased costs by at least a quarter-billion dollars, if not a whole lot more, says Newsweek.

Their report, like ours, relies in part on the findings of Robert McCullough, a former Portland General  Electric executive, who believes the Northwest's only nuclear power plant, the Columbia Generating Station located at Hanford, should be shut down for good. McCullough has advocated for nuclear power in the past, but thinks we could replace the particular plant with cheaper power and save ratepayers $1.7 billion over the next two decades.

Energy Northwest, the consortium that operates the plant, is firing back — saying that McCullough's research, funded by an anti-nuke group, is biased and wrong; that the writer of our article, Nigel Jaquiss, a Pulitzer winner, did a "hatchet job" of the issue; and that the aging nuclear power plant is essential to provide reliable, predictably priced power that backs up the Columbia River dam system.

We've asked the spokesman for Energy Northwest, Mike Paoli, for reaction to the Newsweek article, though by the comments at the bottom of our story, attributed to Energy Northwest, it seems clear EN is bristling at Newsweek's reporting as well. Not that it matters, but in case you were wondering who was swinging the hatchet for Newsweek, it was David Cay Johnston, who, while at the New York Times, also happened to win the Pulitzer for financial reporting.