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Three Mile Island will shut down Friday, ending a contentious chapter in country's nuclear history

By Dan Miller

danmiller@pressandjournal.com

717-944-4628
Posted 9/19/19

Unit 1 of the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant will shut down Friday.

Beyond that, Exelon plant spokesman David Marcheskie had no additional information to provide Thursday.

“All …

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Three Mile Island will shut down Friday, ending a contentious chapter in country's nuclear history

Posted

Unit 1 of the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant will shut down Friday.

Beyond that, Exelon plant spokesman David Marcheskie had no additional information to provide Thursday.

“All other questions can be answered tomorrow,” Marcheskie told the Press & Journal in an email.

Exelon first announced in May 2017 the company’s intention to prematurely shut down Unit 1 by Sept. 30, 2019, unless the state approved a subsidy to benefit the nuclear industry in Pennsylvania, similar to the subsidy the state already has in place for other forms of renewable energy in the state like wind and solar.

TMI is one of five nuclear power plants in Pennsylvania, but according to Exelon it is the only one that is not profitable. TMI had not made a profit in the last five years before the announcement was made in 2017, according to Exelon.

Legislation to enact a subsidy to benefit TMI and the other nuclear plants in Pennsylvania was introduced in March 2019. Hearings were held, but the legislation never came to a vote in committee.

In May, Exelon again announced that Unit 1 would be shut down by Sept. 30, as officials acknowledged that the effort to enact legislation that would “level the playing field” for the nuclear industry in Pennsylvania had failed.

At the time of the 2017 announcement, TMI had 675 full-time employees, according to Exelon.

That number is already down to 515, Marcheskie confirmed for the Press & Journal in an email Sept. 3. He said that the number had been reduced from 675 to 515 as a result of “natural attrition” that has occurred over the past few months.

Marcheskie also pointed out that all employees at the plant had been offered a position with Exelon.

Marcheskie had no details to provide today regarding the immediate impact of Friday’s shutdown on the employment at TMI.

However, Exelon in its decommissioning plan submitted to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has said that employment at TMI will be reduced to 300, “shortly after” used fuel in the Unit 1 reactor is transferred to a spent fuel pool. That is to happen by Sept. 30.

By 2021, employment at TMI is to be down to 200, and down to about 50 by 2022, according to the decommissioning plan.

Unit 1 came online in April 1974 and began operations in September of that year.

On March 28, 1979, Unit 2 was the site of the worst nuclear accident in U.S. history which resulted in severe damage to the reactor core after there was a partial meltdown.