Nuclear Projects Nos. 1 and 4 (WNP-1/4)
Projects 1 and 4 are partially completed nuclear projects located on the Hanford Site on approximately 972 acres. The sites are one and one-half miles east of the Columbia Generating Station (location map).
In May 1974 the application for the twin 1 and 4 projects was filed by the Washington Public Power Supply System (now Energy Northwest) and hearings were held during early to mid-1974 and a Site Certification Agreement (SCA) for a combined 1 and 4 project was signed by the Governor on August 8, 1975.
Following the halt to construction in 1982, WNP-1 entered a preservation mode, where the plant assets and project licenses were maintained to enable Energy Northwest to resume construction at such a time as that action was determined to be appropriate. The construction delay continued through to May 1994, when Energy Northwest board adopted a resolution terminating WNP-1. Since that date, Energy Northwest has been planning for the demolition of WNP-1 and restoration of the site because there is no market for the sale of the plant as an energy facility and no viable alternative use has been found. BPA has continued funding the administrative efforts associated with the preservation/restoration activities.
In June 1995, EFSEC approved a Site Restoration Plan for WNP-1 that deferred demolition. In the interim, Energy Northwest has carried out a minimal level of maintenance and security control at the WNP-1 project site.
In early 2003 Energy Northwest, the US Dept. of Energy - Richland Office, the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) and the State of Washington agreed on a WNP-1/4 Site Restoration and Funding Plan (also know as the "Four Party Agreement"). The Plan called for certain "health, safety and environmental protection"; commencement of final site restoration by 2026, BPA funding of the site restoration; and $3.5 million from BPA for offsite Environmental mitigation. More information on the WNP-1/4 project.
WNP-1: Construction began on WNP-1 in late 1975. In April 1982, with construction 63% complete, the Supply System Board of Directors voted to "mothball" WNP-1 for up to five years. While the plant was ahead of construction targets, a growing energy surplus and financing issues forced BPA to consider shutting down either WNP-1 or WNP-3 because the region would not need the power from both plants when the were scheduled to come on line in 1986. BPA was forecasting an energy surplus through the year 2000 and concerns over keeping a pending rate increase as low as possible and the size of the last bond sale before Initiative 394 took effect, contributed to putting WNP-1 in an extended construction delay. [Two factors in the decision to shutdown 1 vs. 3 were the 30% private utility ownership in 3 and WNP-3 was farther along in construction and beating completion schedules (the plant advanced from 42.9% in 12/81 to 68.2% complete by the end of 1982.)
While the SCA combines the 1 and 4 projects, for funding purposes, WNP-1 is a separate project under a net-billing agreement with BPA, where Bonneville is obligated to pay for the costs of the project. WNP-4 and WNP-5 were created as a combined utility system and the 88 participants were responsible to pay the projects operating costs. Those contracts were later declared invalid, thereby triggering the default on bonds issued to finance the 4/5 projects. The following briefly reviews events that lead to the Supply System formally terminating WNP-4 in January 1982.
In 1980 new Supply System management initiated a comprehensive evaluation of all costs and schedules for the five nuclear projects (3 of the projects were shutdown at the time due to a labor dispute at Hanford). This review lead to a number of management reforms being implemented and construction resuming at all projects. However, the evaluation of the true costs to complete the projects, identified that cost had risen to $23.8 billion or $3 billion annually, at a time when there were questions being raised about the need for power, low Supply System credibility, and skyrocketing interest rates.
Based on the recommendation of a "Blue Ribbon" panel established by the Washington and Oregon Governors, the 4/5 participants, private utilities, and several large industrial electricity users, developed a plan that would provide funding for a two-year preservation program. This deal fell apart as parties questioned the funding obligations that would be placed on them, and in mid-January 1982, the Supply System's Managing Director announced that the necessary funds for mothballing were not available. One week later, on January 22, 1982, the Supply System board terminated both the 4 and 5 projects (when construction was 24% and 16% complete, respectively). The act of termination triggered the subsequent default on the Project 4/5 bonds on July 22, 1983. The Supply System had previously issued $2.25 billion (principal) in bonds to pay construction costs of the two plants.
For the next decade, the Supply System (now Energy Northwest) was party to a substantial number of lawsuits related to the termination and default of bonds. All of the litigation has been either settled with prejudice and finality; or reduced to judgments against the Supply System that can only be paid from available funds from 4 and 5.
Restoration Plans: 1987 to 1995
Partially in response to concerns that the terminated projects would not have the financial capability to pay for restoration, the Council adopted rules in 1987 that required certificate holders to prepare restoration plans for terminated projects. The Supply System petitioned for, and the Council conditionally approved, a delay in consideration of the 4/5 Site Restoration Plans (Resolution No. 246). The postponement would allow additional time for the litigation and plans for the twinned 1 and 3 projects to become known; and acknowledged that certain salvage and asset sales were underway at the projects. Following completion of the salvage work and asset sales at WNP-4, the only significant structures remaining are the partially completed reactor building and the concrete turbine-generator pedestal.
In reviewing the Supply System's request to delay consideration of the 4/5 restoration plans, the Council faced the issue about how any future restoration/demolition work would be funded. Any 4 and 5 funds were locked up in the numerous lawsuits and it was not felt that the state would not be successful in receiving specific funds for restoration if it pursued legal remedy, i.e., other creditors had priority claims. Therefore, the conditional approval of the initial plan provided several options that might be fruitful later on as the litigation was decided and/or decisions were made on the twinned projects.
In May 1994, the Supply System terminated plans to complete Projects 1 and 3. After the termination vote, BPA and the Supply System agreed to preserve the two plants until January 1995 to explore alternative uses for all or a portion of the project facilities. No alternative uses were identified from that effort, and the Supply System subsequently submitted a Site Restoration Plan to the Council in 1995 that covered all four terminated projects. The plan identifies that no funding is available to carry out restoration activities associated with WNP-4.
June 1999 WNP-1/4 Restoration Plan
Energy Northwest submitted a revised Site Restoration Plan for the WNP-1/4 project site to EFSEC on June 30, 1999. The revised plan sets out a series of options or levels for site restoration at the 1/4 sites. The plan presents nine (9) restoration levels that range from site access control and security with removal of environmental and safety hazards, to varying degrees of entombment, demolition or removal to grade of existing structures. The plan also provides updated restoration costs for the nine restoration levels based on an analysis to relative public risk.
Energy Northwest did not request that EFSEC approve the revised plan at this time, recognizing that other stakeholders must be brought into the discussion. At the same time as it is developing restoration options, Energy Northwest is also working with local agencies to examine the potential reuse or redevelopment of the 1/4 site and facilities.
EFSEC believes that stakeholder and public involvement will assist the Council in arriving at an approach to site restoration at WNP-1/4. The Council has initiated an informal dialog with representatives from Energy Northwest, the Bonneville Power Administration, the United States Department of Energy, The Washington Department of Ecology and Congressional Staff in order to understand the issues and alternatives available to the Council. EFSEC is also seeking to involve the public, state agencies, tribes and the environmental community.
A public hearing was conducted on October 27, 1999, in Richland, Washington, to provide an opportunity for these stakeholders and interested persons or organizations to comment on future plans for the 1/4 site.
At its regular meeting on December 13, 1999, the Council adopted a series of observations, timelines, and directives to guide the development and implementation of site restoration/reuse activities at the WNP-1 and WNP-4 projects. Council formally communicated these observations, timelines, and directives to Energy Northwest in a letter dated December 17, 1999. Council will continue working with Energy Northwest and other interested parties to advance the restoration plans for the WNP-1 and WNP-4 sites.
Additional information regarding Energy Northwest's Restoration Plan is available as follows:
In 2002 Energy Northwest, US Dept. of Energy - Richland Office, the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) reached agreement on a proposed site restoration and funding plan. In early 2003 the those entities and the State of Washington and the agreed on a WNP-1/4 Site Restoration and Funding Plan (also know as the "Four Party Agreement"). The Plan called for certain "health, safety and environmental protection"; commencement of final site restoration by 2026, BPA funding of the site restoration; and $3.5 million from BPA for offsite environmental mitigation. By 2007 EFSEC had transferred the $3.5 million to several habitat mitigation projects in and around Benton County.
For additional information regarding the Restoration Plan please contact:
Jim LaSpina, EFSEC Siting Specialist