In the 1970s, Washington’s public utilities embarked on an aggressive nuclear power building project managed by the Washington Public Power Supply System (WPPSS). Unfortunately, the effort ultimately became known as “Whoops!”
WPPSS planned to construct five generating facilities inour state to meet future electricity demand. However, when the core of one of the reactors at Three Mile Island, Pa. nuclear power plant suffered a partial meltdown, support for nuclear power waned.
As a result of the Three Mile Island accident and the subsequent Chernobyl disaster in Russia, nuclear power plant construction in the U.S. all but ceased. Even though WPPSS eventually completed one of its five plants – that is still operating today – WPPSS could not repay $2.25 billion in construction bonds for two now-abandoned nuclear power plants. That default became the largest municipal bond default in U.S. history.
Then, after 16 years of service, Portland General Electric decommissioned Oregon’s only nuclear power plant along the Columbia River near Longview and demolished it in 1993.
Fast-forward to 2010.
France is now the poster nation for nuclear power success.
More than three-fourths of France’s electricity comes from its 60 nuclear plants, and it is the world’s largest net exporter of power. It sends 18 percent of its total production to Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Britain, the United Kingdom and Germany.