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Friday
Sep202019

Infamous Three Mile Island nuclear plant is closing today

Middletown, PA town council meeting, June 20, 1979. Photo by Robert Del Tredichi, from his book "The People of Three Mile Island" (Sierra Club Books, 1980). Used with permission.As reported by CNN.

Three Mile Island-Unit 1 in PA had been announced by its owner Exelon Nuclear to be closed by May 2018, but this was its bid to leverage a public bailout. After it failed to orchestrate a PA State Legislature bailout, on May 8, 2019, Exelon Nuclear confirmed that TMI-1 would close for good, by Sept. 30, 2019. It is now closing today, for good.

As we have feared, the closure of Three Mile Island Unit 1, for lack of a public bailout, is now being used as leverage to force through bailouts for several other dangerously old atomic reactors in Pennsylvania, as this WGAL report shows.

Beyond Nuclear's founding board member, Dr. Judith H. Johnsrud (1931-2014), intervened against the licensing of the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant, long before it was built. She did so as a founder and leader of the Environmental Coalition on Nuclear Power. Johnsrud also co-founded Nuclear Information and Resource Service. After she passed on, Beyond Nuclear established the Dr. Judith H. Johnsrud "Unsung Hero" Award, awarded annually during the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability "D.C. Days" to grassroots anti-nuclear activists who embody her spirit, and carry on her work.

Rebutting nuclear industry propaganda, Beyond Nuclear has documented the harm caused to people and the environment by the March 28, 1979 50% meltdown of the Three Mile Island Unit 2 reactor core.

The good news from the TMI-1 permanent shutdown is that, by definition, once the irradiated nuclear fuel is removed from the reactor core for the last time, a meltdown can no longer occur. Also, no more high-level radioactive waste (HLRW) will be generated.

However, watchdog vigilance must continue. The high-level radioactive waste storage pool, as well as the inadequate dry cask storage permitted by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, still threaten catastrophic releases of hazardous radioactivity. Also, the radioactive contamination of the site, in the middle of the Susquehanna River, must be cleaned up.

The companies vying for control over decommissioning -- Holtec/SNC-Lavalin, NorthStar, EnergySolutions -- are notorious. They seek to maximize profits by looting decommissioning trust funds, while doing as little radiological cleanup, and taking as many short cuts on HLRW management safety, as they can get away with.