locally owned since 1854

Mehaffie optimistic state lawmakers will act in time to save Three Mile Island and other nuclear plants

By Dan Miller

danmiller@pressandjournal.com

717-944-4628
Posted 5/30/18

Rep. Tom Mehaffie, R-Lower Swatara, sounded optimistic today that a proposal will come out of the state legislature by the beginning of 2019 aimed at preserving Three Mile Island and the four other …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Mehaffie optimistic state lawmakers will act in time to save Three Mile Island and other nuclear plants

Posted

Rep. Tom Mehaffie, R-Lower Swatara, sounded optimistic today that a proposal will come out of the state legislature by the beginning of 2019 aimed at preserving Three Mile Island and the four other nuclear power plants in Pennsylvania.

The General Assembly’s Nuclear Energy Caucus, of which Mehaffie is a member, “is doing the right things to make sure that we work toward some kind of resolution to this situation that we can keep our nuclear power plants open in Pennsylvania.” The caucus currently has 80 members.


Mehaffie also hopes to meet with Gov. Tom Wolf within the next week to speak with him regarding the issue of preserving TMI and the other nuclear plants in Pennsylvania.

Mehaffie made his remarks following his participation at an event held on City Island Wednesday afternoon marking the one-year anniversary of the announcement by TMI owner Exelon Corp. that TMI will be prematurely retired in September 2019, unless the state can come up with a solution to make TMI and the other nuclear power plants economically competitive with other energy sources.

The event was organized by Clean Jobs for Pennsylvania, a regional coalition of political and labor leaders that was formed to help preserve TMI following Exelon’s May 31, 2017 announcement.

Today’s event was similar to others that the coalition has held previously regarding the need to save TMI, only this one was also meant as a reminder to policy makers at the state and federal level that “the clock is ticking” toward TMI closing in September 2019.

The March 28, 2018 announcement that FirstEnergy plans to close its nuclear plant in Beaver County in 2021 could help propel state lawmakers toward action, coalition co-chair and Dauphin County Commissioner Mike Pries said following the event on City Island.

“Having Beaver Valley involved with the potential closure in Pittsburgh put its on more people’s radar. Before I think it was more of a central Pennsylvania issue, a TMI issue,” Pries said. “I think now that it’s an issue that is happening on both sides of the state more people are taking notice.”

TMI and Beaver Valley combined employ more than 1,700 full-time workers, plus thousands of contracted workers for maintenance and refueling, Pries said. Each of the two plants also produce more zero-emission energy than all renewable energy sources in the PJM power grid combined, he added.

Mehaffie noted that New York, Illinois and New Jersey all made “improvements” to their respective state energy policies “that recognize the value of their nuclear plants and kept at-risk nuclear plants from closing prematurely. I am confident that when the time comes Pennsylvania will do the same.”

“Forty percent of all power created in Pennsylvania nuclear power. It can’t be made up,” Mehaffie said after the event.

“Alot of times things need to come down to the wire before people react and act,” Pries noted. “We sounded the alarm and now we are saying the clock is ticking. We were hoping there would have been a solution by now but sometimes good things happen to this who wait. You gotta walk before you run. I think that’s what’s happening here.”