Yankee Rowe Atomic was the first pressurized water reactor built in New England, the third in the United States, and the first of its kind to be decommissioned.
A prototype for President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s “Atoms for Peace” program, Yankee Nuclear Power Station in Rowe, Massachusetts began operations in 1961. The plant became the first pressurized water reactor built in New England and the third in the United States. Scheduled to be in use for only six years, it operated for nearly 32.
When it closed in October 1991, it also became the first PWR to be decommissioned. Industry professionals concur that the lessons learned at Yankee Rowe span almost every aspect of decommissioning and determined many present-day techniques.
With its request for an extension of the industry’s standard 40-year operating license, the plant also influenced the NRC's rules for relicensing.
Remaining at the 1800-acre site are two acres of secured spent fuel, staffed seven days a week, 24 hours a day, which the Federal Government was to have begun removing in January 1998. It remains on the site indefinitely due to contentions over how and where to permanently store spent nuclear fuel and waste.
Aerial view of decommissioned Yankee Rowe, ©Jim Armstrong 1985