A coalition of environmental groups is suing the Washington Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council for reissuing water permits to the state’s only nuclear power plant. The permits allow withdrawal of water from the Columbia River for cooling the reactor, and allow a small portion of that water to be discharged back into the river following use.
The permits are renewed every five years, and the environmental groups argue the water withdrawals harm fish and the discharges cause pollution that violates the Clean Water Act. The groups emphasize the water intake structures are not the best technology available for protection of fish and should be replaced with improved equipment.
Nuclear, gas, and coal power plants all use large quantities of water for cooling, and are vulnerable to litigation that threatens water supplies.
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