Oregonians protest and occupy Trojan nuclear power plant, United States, 1977-1978

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Timing
Time Period:  
August
1977
to
August
1978
Location and Goals
Country: 
United States
Location City/State/Province: 
Rainier, Oregon
Goals: 
To shut down the Trojan nuclear power plant.
 

When Oregonians received notice in 1968 that the Portland General Electric Company (PGE) planned to install a nuclear power plant in Rainier Oregon, concerned citizens began to work within the political structure to prevent the plant from entering the community. Based on the anti-nuclear sentiment in the US at the time, many Oregonians were wary of the environmental repercussions of a nuclear power plant. Many also considered the construction and upkeep of the plant an unwise allocation of state money.

Despite some initial protest from Oregonians, PGE prevailed and the Trojan nuclear power plant was built in the city of Rainier. A coalition of Oregonians, the Eugene Future Power Committee (EFPC), produced an initiative for the May 1970 ballot in an attempt to prohibit the utility’s ability to produce nuclear power. The initiative failed, and in May 1976 PGE began commercially operating the Rainier, Oregon, Trojan nuclear power plant.

When the plant began operating, environmentally and fiscally concerned community members formed the Trojan Decommissioning Alliance (TDA) and began to organize to more aggressively inhibit the capacity for the Trojan plant to produce nuclear power. On the 32nd anniversary of the nuclear bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima in August 1977, anti-nuclear arms protesters across the US mobilized in honor of the many that died. TDA initiated their campaign on this date.

During the first month of protest, Nina Bell and Normon Solomon led what they believed to be the first occupation of a U.S. nuclear power plant. Protesters were especially active during November of 1977 and police arrested many. TDA organized and implemented another occupation of the Trojan plant in August 1978. During the span of these occupations and protests, police arrested over 360 activists.

As the 1970s came to a close, political activists of a more conservative variety once again took up the campaign. The new leaders waged an electoral campaign which cooperated with legal and political processes in order to shut down the plant. Then in the late 1980s, Mr. Lloyd Marbet developed a group called the Forelaws on Board and they repeatedly proposed initiatives to terminate the plant.

In order to ensure the failure of these initiatives, PGE spent over $4.5 million in a counter-campaign. Each anti-Trojan initiative failed to pass into law. Days after PGE defeated the August 1992 initiative to shut down the Trojan nuclear power plant, plant operators discovered severe tube cracking in the facility which was too costly to repair, and Trojan directors voted to close the plant by 1996. Operators permanently decommissioned the Trojan nuclear power plant in January 1993.

Research Notes
Influences: 

1) Larger Anti-Nuclear Movement in the US; The effect of the WWII bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Sources: 
[1] Pope, Daniel. “Anti-Nuclear Movement” Acessed 10 Feb 2013. http://www.oregonencyclopedia.org/entry/view/trojan_nuclear_power_plant/

[2] Wollner, Craig. “Tronjan Nuclear Power Plant” Accessed 10 Feb 2013. http://www.oregonencyclopedia.org/entry/view/trojan_nuclear_power_plant/

Name of researcher, and date dd/mm/yyyy: 
Sarah Gonzales, 10/02/2013