The 913 MWe Babcock & Wilcox pressurized water reactor achieved criticality on 16 September 1974 and entered commercial operation on 17 April 1975. In 2005 the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission concluded that an accident in Rancho Seco in 1986 (3) was the third most serious safety-related occurrence in the United States (Behind the Three Mile Island accident and the cable tray fire at Browns Ferry). The plant operated from April 1975 to June 1989 but had a lifetime capacity utilization average of only 39%; it was closed by public vote on 7 June 1989. Operation of the recreational area was assumed by SMUD (Sacramento Municipal Utility District) in 1992. There is a recreation park in the area (after the reactor was closed) but 493 nuclear fuel assemblies remained stored in casks in concrete bunkers. The assemblies held 22 metric tons of uranium, said Einar Ronningen manager of Rancho Seco assets for SMUD. There are plans to remove the stored nuclear waste (2).
|Level of Investment for the conflictive project||750,000,000|
|Type of population||Urban|
|Start of the conflict:||1975|
|End of the conflict:||06/1989|
|Company names or state enterprises:||Babcock & Wilcox |
Pacific Gas and Electricity from United States of America
|Relevant government actors:||SMUD Sacramento Municipal Utility District (owner of the plant)|
Governor of California
|Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:||- Sacramentans for SAFE Energy (SAFE) called for the SMUD board of directors to commission a study of the safety and economic risks associated with Rancho Seco. 1986.|
- Abalone Alliance. In late 1981, Alliance activists along with local opposition held an eight-day sit-in at the State Capitol, encouraging Governor Jerry Brown to use emergency powers to shut down the Rancho Seco Nuclear Generating Station.