Why Did Portland General Electric Want to Build Trojan Nuclear … – Willamette Week

POOF: The implosion of the Trojan cooling tower in 2006. (Shutterstock)
I recall protesting towards the now-defunct Trojan nuclear plant within the Eighties. One query I don’t recall someone asking again then, then again: Why did they wish to construct Trojan within the first position, for the reason that our area already had (and nonetheless has) extra hydropower than we will be able to use? —Duke Nukem
I percentage your ancient interest, Duke—there’s simply one thing about this time of yr that makes one wish to muse about subjects from Portland’s colourful previous that may be researched with no need to get anyone to go back a choice all the way through the week between Christmas and New 12 months’s.
I doubt that anybody below 50 reads this column (which no longer simplest doesn’t come as video, however presumes your mastery of this tedious machine of archaic glyphs during which it’s encoded), however simply in case somebody ignored it: Portland Basic Electrical—PGE to its pals—started development of Trojan Nuclear Energy Plant close to Rainier, Oregon, in 1970 (which, possibly fittingly, is similar yr the Ford Pinto used to be offered). The plant got here on-line in 1975 and used to be slated to function till 2011. Alternatively, it used to be plagued from the beginning with apparatus screw ups and unhealthy press, and used to be in spite of everything shuttered for excellent in 1992.
Why would PGE tackle the sort of fraught undertaking? Smartly, for starters, they’d first begun exploring the potential of development a nuclear plant long ago within the past due Forties. The mighty atom had simply received WWII and used to be taking part in George W. Bush-right-after-9/11 ranges of recognition, whilst the discovery of hippies used to be nonetheless a long time away. Nuclear energy’s downsides would transform extra obvious within the years to apply, however they don’t seem to have penetrated PGE’s C-suite in any vital approach previous to the 1967 resolution to construct the plant.
However again on your query: For the reason that Northwest hydropower is plentiful sufficient to make Oregon’s electrical energy marketplace the country’s 3rd most cost-effective, why construct a plant in any respect? Right here’s the object: All that juicy hydropower is managed by way of the Bonneville Energy Management, a public entity. PGE, the non-public application, has to shop for it from them wholesale after which retail it to us. If, as appeared imaginable on the time, BPA had determined to chop PGE off in desire of public utilities—possibly when PGE’s 20-year contract with BPA got here up for renewal in 1973—PGE will have been in an international of harm.
Trojan represented a hedge towards the sort of risk, in addition to a chance to develop PGE as an organization. Toss in a couple of million greenbacks’ value of federal “Atoms for Peace” emoluments to the trade and, congratulations, you’ve were given your self a nuclear plant. Have amusing! (Simply watch out to not run into it from at the back of, particularly with a lit cigarette.)
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