WNP-1 and WNP-4

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Aerial photograph of WNP-1/4 site.
WNP-1/4 site in 2009, with WNP-1 to the south and WNP-4 to the north. The turbine building extends northeast of the containment, and the auxiliary building extends south of the containment.[1]
Official nameNuclear Project Nos. 1 and 4
CountryUnited States
LocationNorth of Richland, Benton County, Washington
Coordinates46°28′17″N 119°19′01″W / 46.4715°N 119.3170°W / 46.4715; -119.3170Coordinates: 46°28′17″N 119°19′01″W / 46.4715°N 119.3170°W / 46.4715; -119.3170
Construction began1975
Commission dateN/A
Owner(s)Washington Public Power Supply System
Nuclear power station
Reactor typePWR
Reactor supplierBabcock & Wilcox
Power generation
Units cancelled1 × 1259 MW
1 × 1250 MW
External links
CommonsRelated media on Commons

Washington Nuclear Project Nos. 1 and 4, abbreviated as WNP-1 and WNP-4 were two of the five nuclear power plants on which construction was started by the Washington Public Power Supply System (WPPSS) in order to meet projected electricity demand in the Pacific Northwest. WNP-1, WNP-2 and WNP-3 were part of the original 1968 plan, with WNP-4 (a twin to WNP-1 and located at the same site) and WNP-5 (a twin to WNP-3, in similar fashion) added in the early 1970s.[2]

WNP-1 and -4 are located on 972 acres (393 ha), within the boundaries of the Hanford Reservation in the U.S. state of Washington, approximately 1.5 miles (2.4 km) east of the Columbia Generating Station. The WNP-1 site has been proposed as a potential pilot location for small modular reactors.[3]


The Site Certification Agreement was approved in 1975, with construction commencing on both units later that year.[4] Labor disputes at Hanford halted construction on WNP-1, -2 and -4 in 1980 and the forecast electric demand had failed to materialize, prompting WPPSS to install new management and re-evaluate the cost and schedule for all five nuclear projects.[5] In 1982, the Bonneville Power Administration, which had encouraged and was responsible for funding the construction of the initial three projects, had to decide between shutting down construction on WNP-1 or WNP-3. Construction continued on WNP-3 since WNP-3 was partly owned by public utilities and was slightly ahead of schedule, and WNP-1 entered an extended construction delay in April 1982 when it was approximately 63% complete.[5]

Equipment and structures at WNP-1 were preserved to enable the resumption of construction at a later date, based on regional energy forecasts showing surplus power generation would disappear by 1990,[6] but preservation was terminated in 1995.[5] However, the low humidity has maintained the structures in a reasonable condition.[3] The co-owners of WNP-4 and WNP-5 planned to fund similar preservation measures for a potential construction restart, but could not agree on funding obligations, and WNP-4 was canceled in January 1982 at approximately 24% complete.[5]

With the shutdown of the nearby N-Reactor in 1987, a Department of Energy proposal to complete and convert WNP-1 to a tritium-producing reactor for the production of nuclear weapons materials was advanced. Senator Brock Adams and Representative Sid Morrison commissioned reports[7][8] detailing the issues involved. Public reaction to the conversion proposal was mostly negative.[9] WPPSS advanced a separate proposal to convert both WNP-1 and WNP-2 to dispose of highly enriched uranium and plutonium by using it as mixed-oxide fuel.[10]

WPPSS's successor, Energy Northwest, submitted a revised site restoration plan in 1999 proposing several different alternative levels of restoration, ranging from putting a fence around the incomplete units to full demolition of all structures.[11] Under EFSEC Resolution No. 302,[12] a revised 'Level 3D' restoration is acceptable, which retains major structures such as the containment, turbine pedestal and auxiliary building. The final agreed-upon restoration adopts a two-phase site restoration, which retains major structures and utility infrastructure for potential reuse in the near-term.[4] The containment building at WNP-1 is slated to be retained, but the containment at WNP-4 will be demolished to approximately 25 feet above grade and sealed with a concrete cap in the long term.[11]

In 2001, regional electricity shortages led to Energy Northwest's withdrawal of a request to terminate the construction permit for WNP-1.[13] Instead, Energy Northwest commissioned a series of studies regarding the feasibility of restarting construction on WNP-1 and in 2002, the NRC extended construction permit CPPR-134 for WNP-1 to 2011, pending study results.[14] These studies included one by Bechtel for a cost- and time-to-complete analysis, another study by R. W. Beck to independently assess Bechtel's methodology, a study by the Energy Northwest senior management team, and an industrial/political feasibility study by the lobbying group Goldschmidt-Imeson, which was founded by former Oregon governor Neil Goldschmidt.[15] The studies concluded that restarting construction on WNP-1 was technically feasible but not cost-effective, with cost of completion estimated at US$4,200,000,000 (equivalent to $5,942,800,000 in 2018).[16][17][18] As a result, Energy Northwest requested termination of the construction license, which was received on February 8, 2007.[19][20]

TVA revived its terminated construction license[21][22] for two similar partially completed units at the Bellefonte Nuclear Generating Station and decided to proceed with staffing and long lead item ordering for completion of Unit 1.[23][24] TVA then sold the site on November 14, 2016 to Nuclear Holdings LLC which planned to complete both units for about $13 billion starting in 2018 although the sale was cancelled by TVA on November 30, 2018.[25] Even so, this potential restart indicates that it may be feasible to revive the construction license and complete WNP-1 if desired and needed.


The pressurized water reactor nuclear steam supply system (NSSS) for WNP-1 and -4 was being manufactured by Babcock & Wilcox. The B&W 205 design was ordered for WNP-1 and -4 as well as for the two units at Bellefonte Nuclear Generating Station and Mülheim-Kärlich Nuclear Plant [de], but only Mülheim-Kärlich was completed. Elements of the design are similar to earlier B&W NSSSes installed at Davis Besse, ANO-1, Crystal River 3, Three Mile Island, Oconee and Rancho Seco.

WNP-1/4 would have received make-up water from the adjacent Columbia River and was equipped with forced-draft low-profile cooling towers and a spray pond.[3]


WNP-1/4 and WNP-2 (now Columbia Generating Station) should not be confused with the proposed Skagit/Hanford plant. Skagit/Hanford was a proposal advanced by a consortium of utilities led by Puget Sound Power & Light (40% share) and joined by Portland General Electric (30%), Pacific Light and Power (20%) and Washington Water Power (10%) to build a two-unit plant north of Seattle in the Skagit Valley. The Skagit site was directly above a major earthquake fault. After the Three Mile Island accident in 1979, Skagit County voters forced the consortium to relocate the proposed Skagit plant to the Hanford site.[26] Skagit/Hanford had not progressed beyond the initial engineering design phases before the plant was scuttled. A 1978 Battelle Northwest report stated the Hanford site could support twenty or more nuclear reactors.[27]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ General Plant Description: Chapter 1.0 — B&W Cross-Training Course R-326C (PDF) (Report). United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission. 2011. Retrieved 1 September 2015.
  2. ^ Goodman, Louis J.; Ignacio, Rufino S. (1999). "7: The Washington Public Power Supply System: Nuclear Power Plants 1968–1992". Engineering Project Management: The IPQMS Method and Case Histories. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press. pp. 123–140. ISBN 0-8493-0024-X. Retrieved 29 August 2015.
  3. ^ a b c URS Corporation (September 2014). Hanford Small Modular Reactor Study (PDF) (Report). Tri-City Development Council (TRIDEC). Retrieved 1 September 2015.
  4. ^ a b "Resolution No. 330: Amendment No. 2 to the WNP-1 and 4 Site Certification Agreement" (PDF). Energy Facilities Site Evaluation Council. 13 April 2010. Retrieved 1 September 2015.
  5. ^ a b c d "Nuclear Projects Nos. 1 and 4 (WNP-1/4)". Energy Facilities Site Evaluation Council. 2009. Retrieved 1 September 2015.
  6. ^ Steele, Karen Dorn (28 March 1984). "Change possible: Northwest's power surplus status extended in committee's forecast". The Spokesman-Review. Retrieved 1 September 2015.
  7. ^ Issues Associated with Completing WNP-1 as a Defense Materials Production Reactor (Report). United States Government Accountability Office. 21 September 1988. Retrieved 1 September 2015.
  8. ^ Questions Associated with Completing WNP-1 as a Defense Materials Production Reactor (Report). United States Government Accountability Office. 21 September 1988. Retrieved 1 September 2015.
  9. ^ Camden, Jim; Steele, Karen Dorn (1 December 1988). "Hanford conversion questioned at hearing". The Spokesman-Review. Retrieved 1 September 2015.
  10. ^ Counsil, William G. (1995). "Use of WNP-2 to Burn HEU & Pu as Fuel". In Kursunoglu, Behram N.; Mintz, Stephan L.; Perlmutter, Arnold (eds.). Global Energy Demand in Transition: The New Role of Electricity. New York, NY: Springer Science+Business Media. pp. 229–236. doi:10.1007/978-1-4899-1048-6. ISBN 978-1-4899-1050-9. Retrieved 2 September 2015.
  11. ^ a b Energy Northwest Nuclear Projects 1 & 4: Site Restoration Plan (PDF) (Report). Energy Facilities Site Evaluation Council. June 1999. Retrieved 1 September 2015.
  12. ^ "Resolution No. 302: Energy Northwest Nuclear Projects Nos. 1 and 4 Site Restoration Plan" (PDF). Energy Facilities Site Evaluation Council. 9 December 2002. Retrieved 1 September 2015.
  13. ^ Craig, John W. (15 May 2001). Weekly Information Report - Week ending May 11, 2001 (PDF) (Report). Office of the Executive Director for Operations. Retrieved 2 September 2015.
  14. ^ 67 FR 4475
  15. ^ Energy Northwest Executive Board Review of Nuclear Program (PDF) (Report). Energy Northwest. 23 January 2003. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 February 2012. Retrieved 2 September 2015.
  16. ^ Travers, William D. (12 October 2001). Future Licensing and Inspection Readiness Assessment (PDF) (Report). Office of the Executive Director for Operations. Retrieved 2 September 2015.
  17. ^ Craig, John W. (9 May 2002). Weekly Information Report - Week ending May 3, 2002 (PDF) (Report). Office of the Executive Director for Operations. Retrieved 2 September 2015.
  18. ^ "WNP-1: Energy Northwest Presentation to US Nuclear Regulatory Commission" (PDF). Nuclear Regulatory Commission. 4 December 2001. Retrieved 2 September 2015.
  19. ^ 71 FR 52824
  20. ^ Lubinski, John W.; Haney, Catherine (8 February 2007). "Energy Northwest Nuclear Project No. 1 – Termination of Construction Permit CPPR-134 (TAC No. MC9245)" (PDF). Letter to Parrish, J.V. Retrieved 1 September 2015.
  21. ^ Brass, Larisa (28 August 2008). "TVA considers project at Bellefonte". Knoxville News Sentinel. Retrieved 2 September 2015.
  22. ^ "NRC extends TVA construction permit for Bellefonte reactor". Knoxville News Sentinel. 3 October 2011. Retrieved 2 September 2015.
  23. ^ Flory, Josh (18 August 2011). "TVA approves completion of Bellefonte nuclear plant, rate increase". Knoxville News Sentinel. Retrieved 2 September 2015.
  24. ^ Marcum, Ed (21 August 2010). "$248M OK'd for TVA Bellefonte site in Ala". Knoxville News Sentinel. Retrieved 2 September 2015.
  25. ^ https://whnt.com/2018/11/30/breaking-tva-says-buyer-for-bellefonte-nuclear-plant-cant-meet-contract-deadline-sale-appears-off/
  26. ^ "Puget Power Will Seek End to Nuclear Project". The New York Times. 31 August 1983. Retrieved 1 September 2015.
  27. ^ Dullenty, Jim; Crowell, Todd (22 October 1979). "Hanford: Its future role". The Spokesman-Review. AP. Retrieved 1 September 2015.

External links[edit]