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Thursday
May092019

Exelon announces (yet again) closure of TMI-1 by Sept. 30; ongoing vigilance needed against attempted bailouts in PA and OH

From left to right: Kevin Kamps, Beyond Nuclear; Eric Epstein, Three Mile Island Alert (at podium); Paul Gunter, Beyond Nuclear. PA state capitol rotunda, October 2, 2018.Since 2012, a record-breaking eight atomic reactor permanent shutdowns have taken place in North America: Gentilly-2, Quebec; Crystal River, FL; Kewaunee, WI; San Onofre 2 & 3, CA; Vermont Yankee; Fort Calhoun, NE; Oyster Creek, NJ. The good news about reactor shutdowns is, core meltdowns are no longer possible, and no more radioactive waste will be generated (although way too much has already been generated and needs to be isolated from the environment forevermore, and radioactive contamination on-site still has to be addressed during years- or decades-long plant decommissioning).

If Exelon Nuclear can be believed, another most infamous name will soon be added to that list: Three Mile Island Unit 1 in Pennsylvania. Yesterday, Exelon confirmed it will shut down TMI-1 by September 30, 2019. Exelon's surrender comes in the face of its failure to secure ratepayer and/or taxpayer bailouts from the PA state legislature. (The closure confirmation comes after the 40th annual commemoration of the TMI-2 reactor core meltdown on 3/28/79. Beyond Nuclear has been honored and privileged to stand with our friends and colleagues, such as TMI Alert, during this commemoration period. See Beyond Nuclear staff Paul Gunter and Kevin Kamps, with TMI Alert's Eric Epstein, at a press conference in PA's state capitol rotunda, in Oct. 2018, above left.) 

However, as Citizens Against Nuclear Bailouts in Pennsylvania has warned, the fight against attempted bailouts at several additional dangerously age-degraded atomic reactors in the Keystone State continues. In fact, TMI supporters' surrender could be yet another feign, using the threat of job and local tax revenue loss as leverage, to still force a bailout even at TMI-1. Similar "hostage taking" political arguments have succeeded in the past, as in New York and Illinois, to secure massive public bailouts, to prop up economically failing old reactors, even after Exelon had announced date-certain closures, which then were reversed upon securing the bailouts. The attempted nuclear bailouts may be dead for now in the PA state legislature, especially considering the busy legislative schedule into 2020 there. But we must remain vigilant, as Exelon's announced closure of TMI-1 by October could be a last ditch effort to force legislative action. If you reside in PA, please contact your state legislators and governor, urging they block attempted nuclear bailouts. If you know folks in PA, please pass this action alert on to them.

A similar battle rages on in Ohio (as it has been raging for several long years, but never more urgently than right now). FirstEnergy Nuclear (which is also seeking PA bailouts for its Beaver Valley Unit 1 & 2 reactors in that state, just several miles from the OH state line) is seeking ratepayer and/or taxpayer bailouts for its dangerously age-degraded Davis-Besse reactor east of Toledo, and Perry reactor east of Cleveland. Beyond Nuclear has submitted extensive testimony to state legislative subcommittees and committees, opposing the attempted bailouts. If you are an OH resident, please contact your state legislators and governor, urging their opposition to the bailouts. And if you know folks in OH, please urge them to take action.
 
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