Barnhart develops creative plan to lift and remove RPV from Maine Yankee Nuclear Power Plant during decommissioning.
Maine Yankee Nuclear Power Plant was a nuclear power plant built on Bailey Peninsula of Wiscasset, Maine, United States.The Maine Yankee Atomic Power Company formed in 1966, when plans for a pressurized water reactor in Wiscasset, Maine were made. The four-year $231 million construction of the plant began in 1968 and ended in 1972 when commercial operation of the plant began. Originally, Maine Yankee Power Co. had a 40 year license to run the plant.Over its 25 years as Maine's sole operating nuclear power plant, the power station produced much of Maine's power. Maine Yankee's most productive year came in 1989 when it produced reached 6,900 gigawatt-hours of electricity. From 1972 through 1996 the 900 megawatt reactor produced about 119,000 gigawatt-hours of electricity. Initial opposition to constructing the plant was led by Citizens for Safe Power, from 1967 through 1972; the group failed to stop construction but succeeded in persuading the Nuclear regulatory Commission to impose stricter environmental standards and monitoring. During the 1980s, when nuclear opposition was provoked by the partial meltdown at Three Mile Island, two attempts by referendum (1980 and 1982) at closing the plant were defeated. A third referendum in 1987 was triggered by the catastrophic accident at the Chernobyl nuclear plant in the Ukraine. The referendums all failed despite gaining more than 40% of the vote. Ultimately the questions raised in the referendums by the Maine Nuclear Referendum Committee, and its allied citizen groups, proved persuasive to policy makers who made the ultimate decision for early closure of the plant.The eight-year $500 million decommissioning process spanned from 1997 until 2005. In 2000, the first structures were gutted out by workers. In 2003, the reactor section of the station was shipped to a secure location in South Carolina via a barge. Finally, in 2004, the facility's containment building was brought down by explosives. In 2005, dangerous radioactive material was still consistently being removed. The process is to end later in 2005 when the final radioactive soil is removed and grass is planted over the area.