Trojan Nuclear Power Plant, Oregon

The only nuclear power plant in Oregon shut down twenty years early, after a cracked steam tube released radioactive gas into the plant in 1992. It cost $450 million to build the plant, and it is expected to cost the same amount, at least, to make it go away. In 2001, the 1,000-ton 1,130-megawatt reactor was encased in concrete foam, and coated in blue shrink-wrapped plastic, then shipped up the Columbia River on a barge to the Hanford Nuclear Site in Washington, where it was placed in a 45 foot deep pit, and covered with six inches of gravel, making it the first commercial reactor to be moved and buried whole. The plant went on line in 1976, and was said to have been built on an Indian burial ground. When it shut down 16 years later, it was the largest commercial reactor to be decommissioned. The 500-foot-tall cooling tower was imploded in May 2006. The spent fuel rods, however, are still stored on site, as they are at all the other 108 or so commercial reactors in the country. Almost 800 rods are in a pool, next to the Columbia River, awaiting the possible opening of the Yucca Mountain radioactive storage facility in Nevada.