Gary J. Duarte of Sparks, Nevada, is director of the U.S. Nuclear Energy Foundation, a national nuclear advocacy group based in Sparks.
Now living in Sparks, Nevada, I returned to Maine last year for my 50th Lewiston High School reunion and, while in the area, visited the Seabrook nuclear plant.
I grew up in Maine and lived in the state when Maine Yankee went online. Contrary to what people were led to believe, it was a successful power generating station. Built in only four years, it generated power from 1972 to 1997 — 25 years of the 40 for which it was licensed.
Maine Yankee was a small plant compared to the other 98 in the United States’ nuclear fleet today. Many of these were updated according to Nuclear Regulatory Commission requirements; such upgrades implemented advancing nuclear technology and, on average, improved production output by 20 percent. But Maine Yankee was a smaller plant, and the economics of the upgrades were simply not practical for the owners.
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