Seattle City Light approved to purchase Kiket Island for a proposed nuclear power plant on June 30, 1969.

  • By David Wilma
  • Posted 10/24/2001
  • Essay 1249

On June 30, 1969, Seattle City Council approves City Light's request to purchase Kiket Island at Deception Pass (located 70 miles north of Seattle) as a site for a $250 million nuclear power plant. Council member Tim Hill (b. 1936) casts the only dissenting vote. The plan will be dropped in 1972 due to environmental concerns.

In the 1960s, planners predicted an energy shortage by 1977 or 1978. Seattle had explored nearly all the available sites for hydroelectric dams and looked to thermal (oil, coal, and gas fired) and nuclear sources. In partnership with the Snohomish County Public Utilities District, the utility picked Kiket Island in Skagit Bay for a 1100 MW power plant. The distant location was chosen to protect Seattle in the event of a nuclear accident, considered a remote possibility.

Almost immediately, environmental objections rose against the plant. Residents of nearby Anacortes opposed the proximity of a plant deemed too dangerous for Seattle. The utilities started extensive environmental studies to determine the impact of factors such as vast quantities of hot water generated by the facility.

In 1972, the administration of Seattle Mayor Wes Uhlman (b. 1935) and City Light Superintendent Gordon Vickery (1920-1996) shelved the plan. The City sold Kiket Island in 1980.


Walt Crowley, Rites of Passage: A Memoir of the Sixties in Seattle (Seattle; University of Washington Press, 1995), 271; Patrick Douglas and Tim Thompson, "City Light, Burning Bright," Seattle November 1969, pp. 17-23, 52-55; Patrick Douglas and Tim Thompson, "City Light, Burning Bright," Ibid., December 1969, pp. 22-26, 54-61; Bob Lane, "Time Runs Out For Kiket Island," Ibid., August 16, 1970, p. A-22; Sam P. Sperry, "No Active Plan For Kiket Island Plant Says Vickery," The Seattle Times, October 28, 1972, p. A-9; Seattle City Council Resolution 26414, September 22, 1980, Seattle Municipal Archives.

Licensing: This essay is licensed under a Creative Commons license that encourages reproduction with attribution. Credit should be given to both and to the author, and sources must be included with any reproduction. Click the icon for more info. Please note that this Creative Commons license applies to text only, and not to images. For more information regarding individual photos or images, please contact the source noted in the image credit.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License
Major Support for Provided By: The State of Washington | Patsy Bullitt Collins | Paul G. Allen Family Foundation | Museum Of History & Industry | 4Culture (King County Lodging Tax Revenue) | City of Seattle | City of Bellevue | City of Tacoma | King County | The Peach Foundation | Microsoft Corporation, Other Public and Private Sponsors and Visitors Like You