Northwest’s Only Commercial Nuke Plant Launches Publicity Campaign

Apr 23, 2012

The utility Energy Northwest is launching a new TV ad campaign to improve the image of nuclear power. But  the ads touting nuclear energy as green might be a tough sell.

Energy Northwest operates the only commercial nuclear power plant in the region. It’s called the Columbia Generating Station in Richland.  The company’s new ad ends this way: "Nuclear energy. Reliable. Affordable. Environmentally responsible."

But nuclear power just isn’t on most Northwest residents’ radar. So says John Horvick. He’s a pollster with DHM Research in Portland. He says based on his firm’s surveys, there’s keen interest in sources like wind, solar, tidal and biomass.  “We’re not really picking up a lot of interest in nuclear or a lot of opposition either," Horvick says. "It’s not as a top-of-mind issue as some of those other sources are.”

Energy Northwest spokesman John Dobken says nuclear power is a steady source of electricity that doesn’t pollute the air. 

The Columbia Generating Station is going through its federal relicensing process.