The owner of the plant where North America’s worst nuclear power-related accident took place four decades ago, confirmed the facility’s lone remaining operating unit will shut down this September, Kallanish Energy reports.
Exelon Generation said Three Mile Island (Tmi) Generating Station Unit 1, located near Middletown, Pennsylvania, on an island south of the state capital city of Harrisburg in the Susquehanna River, will close for good by Sept. 30, as first announced two years ago.
With less than a handful of Pennsylvania legislative session days remaining in May and no action yet taken on House Bill 11 or Senate Bill 510, both designed to provide aid to Exelon to compete against cheaper natural gas-fired plants, Exelon said “a state policy solution will not be enacted before June 1, in time to reverse the premature retirement of the plant.”
“Today is a difficult day for our employees, who were hopeful that state policymakers would support valuing carbon-free nuclear energy the same way they value other forms of clean energy in time to save TMI from a premature closure,” said Bryan Hanson, Exelon senior vice president and chief nuclear officer.
Exelon Generation previously announced the station would shut down, absent policy reform, due to “economic challenges and market flaws” that fail to recognize the environmental and resiliency benefits from TMI and other zero-carbon nuclear energy plants across Pennsylvania.
“Although we see strong support in Harrisburg and throughout Pennsylvania to reduce carbon emissions and maintain the environmental and economic benefits provided by nuclear energy, we don’t see a path forward for policy changes before the June 1 fuel purchasing deadline for TMI,” said Kathleen Barrón, Exelon senior vice president, Government and Regulatory Affairs and Public Policy.
Even with the closing of TMI Unit 1, Exelo1n Generation has eight other zero-carbon nuclear units operating in Pennsylvania.
The company operates the largest U.S. fleet of nuclear plants, with more than 19,600 megawatts of capacity from 22 reactors at 13 facilities in Illinois, Maryland, New York and Pennsylvania.
Three Mile Island’s Unit 2 reactor partially melted down on March 28, 1979, and is recognized as the most serious accident in U.S. commercial nuclear power plant operating history.
A combination of equipment malfunctions, design-related problems and worker errors led to TMI-2’s partial meltdown and very small off-site releases of radioactivity.
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