Yankee Rowe

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History of Yankee Rowe

Photo of the plant during operation, showing admin/control building in front of the containment dome, and an array of other buildings on the waterfront, backed by green hills and a nascent power transmission line
The Yankee Rowe nuclear plant prior to decommissioning

In 1954, a consortium of 11 New England Electric utilities formed Yankee Atomic Electric Company for the purpose of designing, constructing and operating a prototype nuclear power plant as part of President Eisenhower’s ‘Atoms for Peace’ Program. Construction of a four-loop pressurized water reactor began in Rowe, Massachusetts in 1958 and was completed in 1960. It was the third nuclear power plant built in the nation and the first in New England. The Yankee Nuclear Power Station or “Yankee Rowe” as it is often referred to, began commercial operation in 1961 and was only expected to operate for about six years. Instead, the small, 185 megawatt plant operated for more than three decades earning international distinction for its outstanding record.

During Yankee Rowe’s 30 plus years of operation, the plant safely produced 44 billion kilowatt hours of electricity for its New England customers. Yankee was permanently shut down in February 1992 when the plant was determined to be no longer economically viable.


Physical decommissioning of the former Yankee Rowe plant was completed in 2007. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) notified Yankee in August 2007 that the former plant site had been fully decommissioned in accordance with NRC procedures and regulations and formally approved Yankee Atomic’s Final Status Survey Reports in accordance with the License Termination Plan . The federal license for the site was reduced to the approximately 2 acres surrounding the Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation site.

Aerial view of the Yankee Rowe site after decommissioning; the natural environment has been restored and the 2-acre ISFSI is nestled between the trees at the base of the hill
Aerial view of the Yankee Rowe site, April 2012

The 2007 milestone marked the full decommissioning of the plant with all plant buildings removed, the site remediated and restoration complete. The project was performed safely and complied with the radiological cleanup standards required under the state and federal regulations.

Spent Fuel Storage

The transfer of Yankee's used fuel from wet to dry cask storage was successfully completed in June of 2003. Yankee’s mission and focus going forward is the safe storage of the plant’s spent nuclear fuel and Greater than Class C waste at the Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation until the U.S. Department of Energy meets it’s statutory and contractual obligation to remove the material. The storage will be conducted in accordance with NRC requirements and applicable regulations while the company pursues opportunities with our stakeholders and others to expedite the removal of the material from the site.

Aerial view of the Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation, showing the 16 dry storage casks in their fenced enclosure and an admin/monitoring building
Aerial view of the Yankee Rowe site, April 2012

Property Transfer

Yankee has made no decision at this point regarding the future use of the former plant site. As part of post-decommissioning activities, Yankee continues implementing post-closure monitoring activities under Massachusetts DEP regulations and will continue to monitor the groundwater at the site in accordance with the prescribed groundwater monitoring plant.