Maine Yankee Power Plant Operation with High-Level Nuclear Waste, Question 1 (1987)

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The Maine Yankee in Wiscasset, Maine. Closed in 1996
The Maine Nuclear Waste Initiative, on the ballot as Measure 1, was on the November 3, 1987 ballot in Maine. The measure passed. It allowed the continuation of high-waste nuclear plants in the state, including the Maine Yankee.
  • In favor: 235,069
  • Opposed: 162,902

The question on the ballot was, ""Do You Want to Let any Power Plant Like Maine Yankee Operate after July 4, 1988, if it Makes High Level Nuclear Waste?"

Measure 1 was put on the ballot through the citizen initiative process by a group who hoped that Maine's voters would decide to shut down the Maine Yankee, following two previous unsuccessful attempts at the ballot to shut down the Maine Yankee:

Their 1987 effort were triggered by the catastrophic accident in 1986 at the Chernobyl nuclear plant in Ukraine.

About the Maine Yankee

The Maine Yankee Nuclear Power Plant was a nuclear power plant built on Bailey Peninsula of Wiscasset, Maine, United States. It ran from 1972 until 1996, when it was shut for economic reasons. The Maine Yankee Atomic Power Company formed in 1966, when plans for a pressurized water reactor in Wiscasset, Maine were made. The four-year $231 million construction of the plant began in 1968 and ended in 1972 when commercial operation of the plant began. Originally, Maine Yankee Power Co. had a 40-year license to run the plant. Over its 25 years as Maine's sole operating nuclear power plant, the power station produced much of Maine's power. Maine Yankee's most productive year came in 1989 when it produced reached 6,900 gigawatt-hours of electricity. From 1972 through 1996 the 900 megawatt reactor produced about 119,000 gigawatt-hours of electricity.

Initial opposition to constructing the plant was led by Citizens for Safe Power, from 1967 through 1972; the group failed to stop construction but succeeded in persuading the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to impose stricter environmental standards and monitoring. During the 1980s, when nuclear opposition was provoked by the partial meltdown at Three Mile Island, leading to unsuccessful ballot initiatives in 1980 and 1982, and the 1987 measure as well.


Paul Mandabach of Winner & Mandabach Campaigns worked on behalf of the campaign to allow the continued operation of the Maine Yankee. According to a November 5, 1987 article in the Bangor Daily News, "The consultant behind the massive save-Maine Yankee drive, Paul Mandabach of Winner, Wagner & Associates, masterminded a similar nuclear-industry financed campaign last year in Oregon that defeated a referendum to close that state's Trojan reactor. Mandabach has been involved in nearly a half dozen shutdown elections."[1]

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