MIDDLETOWN, Pa. — Exelon Generation, owner and operator of the Three Mile Island (TMI) Unit 1 nuclear energy facility, today filed the federally required Post Shutdown Decommissioning Activities Report (PSDAR) detailing plans for the plant after its final shutdown, scheduled Sept. 2019.
“Even while we continue to safely operate Three Mile Island at industry-leading levels, we have a responsibility to prepare the plant, along with our community and our employees, for decommissioning,” said TMI Unit 1 Site Vice President Edward Callan. “At the same time, we are actively engaged with stakeholders and policymakers on a solution to preserve Pennsylvania’s nuclear facilities and the clean, reliable energy and good-paying jobs they provide — a solution that will maintain nuclear energy’s $2 billion annual contribution to the state’s economy and its approximately 16,000 direct and indirect Pennsylvania jobs. However, time is not on our side.”
In the filing with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Exelon Generation selected “SAFSTOR,” one of three federally allowed decommissioning options for the plant, and outlined a plan to dismantle large components, including the station’s cooling towers, beginning in 2074. The SAFSTOR option provides a safer environment for our decommissioning workforce by allowing additional time for normal radioactive decay, which results in less waste and lower radiation exposure.
Used nuclear fuel will be transitioned into the spent fuel pool and then moved to dry cask storage by the end of 2022, where it will be protected in a hardened facility with multiple layers of structural, human and electronic security. Facility staffing will decrease in three phases from 675 employees in 2017 when Exelon announced the plant’s premature retirement to 50 full-time employees in 2022, absent market or policy reform.
The current market design fails to properly recognize the significant environmental and resiliency attributes associated with the carbon-free, reliable energy generated at TMI and nuclear plants across the Commonwealth. Absent action in the coming months by Pennsylvania policymakers, the loss of nuclear plants will increase air pollution, compromise the resiliency of the electric grid, raise energy prices for consumers, eliminate thousands of good-paying local jobs and weaken the state’s economy.
Today’s decommissioning report filing is required by the NRC as part of the process to shut down the plant; however, the plant will remain operating if a policy solution is enacted.