Fukushima anniversary: B.C. looks south to closest nuclear plant

Sitting a six-hour drive south of Vancouver, the Columbia Generating Station is B.C.'s closet nuclear plant. As we near the one year anniversary of the Fukushima disaster, VO investigates.

The Columbia Generating Station, six hours from Vancouver, is designed to withstand a 6.9-magnitude earthquake.

An almost featureless long, flat stretch of highway leads to the Columbia Generating Station, near Hanford, Washington – the closest nuclear plant to B.C. and one that raises questions of how safe Canadians are in the event of a disaster to our south.

Only 550 kilometres from Vancouver, the facility – a slightly newer model than Fukushima's General Electric Mark 1 plants – rises like a cube from the fields, unlike the famed cones of the Simpsons or the ill-fated Three Mile Island plant.

When an earthquake and tsunami struck the multiple nuclear reactors in Fukushima, Japan last March 11, leading to a long chain of failures, meltdowns and toxic waste leaks, it caused Columbia's plant regulatory affairs manager to reflect – and, he told the Vancouver Observer, to act.

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