The Maine Yankee nuclear power plant, built in 1968 and closed in 1996, provides a revealing case study of the rise and fall of the nuclear power industry in the United States. At its inception, the plant generated a great outpouring of optimistic superlatives promising electricity “too cheap to meter” and a solution to Maine’s longstanding energy problems. Its promoters envisioned a technological utopia for Maine communities based on cheap and efﬁcient energy, and based on these promising prospects, the town of Wiscasset welcomed the plant. This article traces the changes in public thinking that led to statewide referenda on the question of nuclear power in 1980, 1982, and 1987, and it highlights the anti-utopian fears that fueled these campaigns. Howard Segal is a professor of history specializing in history of technology at the University of Maine, having joined the faculty there in 1986. His publications include Technological Utopianism in American Culture (1985); Future Imperfect: The Mixed Blessings of Technology in America (1994); Technology in America: A Brief History (1989); and Recasting the Machine Age: Henry Ford’s Village Industries (2001).His current research involves a history of high-tech technological utopias in America.
Segal, Howard P.. "Maine Yankee Nuclear Power Plant: A Technological Utopia in Retrospect." Maine History 44, 2 (2009): 120-142. https://digitalcommons.library.umaine.edu/mainehistoryjournal/vol44/iss2/2