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Closure of TMI would have major downsides: Letter to the Editor

Posted 11/29/17

I’d like to offer a few thoughts after reading David Williams’ column of Nov. 7 (“States shouldn’t bail out nuclear power plants”).

If Three Mile Island or one of …

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Closure of TMI would have major downsides: Letter to the Editor

Posted

I’d like to offer a few thoughts after reading David Williams’ column of Nov. 7 (“States shouldn’t bail out nuclear power plants”).

If Three Mile Island or one of the state’s five nuclear generating facilities were to prematurely close (which could happen without legislative changes), the state will be more reliant on more coal and natural gas (not renewables) to fill the void.

I realize there are compelling arguments on both sides of this issue. My concerns focus on our community. Once a plant closes, it’s gone forever.

The closure of Three Mile Island will create a negative impact to our community. On a larger scale, what about the 800,000 homes its production provides power for? How will any industry be able to quickly replace the energy currently produced by the plant? What would be the new costs for the infrastructure of such a change?

With any energy decision, there are going to be consequences, whether it’s solar, wind, hydro-electric, oil, coal, gas or nuclear. Today there are conflicts between federal and state policies that drive market distortions which could lead to a less diverse portfolio.

With our addiction to more energy, would a less diverse electrical portfolio without nuclear have a larger impact on our economy? Pennsylvania’s nuclear industry supports 16,000 good-paying jobs alone.

In addition, nuclear facilities spend $1.8 billion in our local economies, benefiting 4,150 Pennsylvania companies, and contribute $2 billion annually to the commonwealth’s economy. Without nuclear, all of that will disappear.

As a final thought, since 2013 five nuclear plants have closed along with six more planned. These closures will take an enormous amount of clean energy off the grid. If dirtier natural gas and/or coal replaces them, there will be a long-standing negative impact on the environment.

Nuclear energy prevents 37 million tons of carbon emissions — the equivalent of taking 8 million passenger cars off the road, roughly the same number of passenger cars registered in the state in 2016 — from being emitted into Pennsylvania’s air each year.

A diverse energy market — one that values nuclear energy — is best for Pennsylvania.

Anna Dale

Londonderry Township supervisor and a member of the Clean Jobs for Pennsylvania Coalition

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