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The Three Mile Island Nuclear Plant – An Update on the 35th Anniversary

Neil Sheehan
Public Affairs Officer
Region I
 
The Three Mile Island Unit 2 Control Room bustles during the crisis in 1979. For more historical information, click on the photo to go to the NRC YouTube video about the accident.

The Three Mile Island Unit 2 Control Room bustles during the crisis in 1979. For more historical information, click on the photo to go to the NRC YouTube video about the accident.

Today marks 35 years since the accident at the Three Mile Island 2 nuclear power plant. As is the case every year, it represents another opportunity to reflect on the most significant nuclear power plant accident to ever occur in the U.S.

Perhaps less well known to the average citizen is where things stand in terms of the Middletown, Pa., site all these years later.

GPU Nuclear, which owned the plant at the time of the accident, removed the damaged fuel from the reactor and decontaminated the plant in ensuing years. Once the plant was placed in a safe, stable condition, it transitioned to what is known as “post-defueled monitored storage” — a change that was formally approved by the NRC in 1993.

Last year, the current owner, FirstEnergy, submitted a roadmap to the agency on its plans for eventual dismantling the plant. Those details were contained in a document called a Post-Shutdown Decommissioning Activities Report, or PSDAR.

In short, the plant will remain in storage until its neighboring reactor, Three Mile Island 1, permanently ceases operations, something currently expected to happen in 2034. Once that happens, decommissioning work on both units will be undertaken, but those efforts are projected to take many years.

NRC regulations allow up to 60 years for the completion of decommissioning activities for U.S. nuclear power plants.

A view of the TMI-2 control room, last year, with two NRC inspectors.

A view of the TMI-2 control room, last year, with two NRC inspectors.

Meanwhile, the NRC will continue to inspect TMI-2 at regular intervals. The focus of those reviews includes maintenance of the structures, management oversight, fire protection and plant support activities. The results of those inspections can be found in the NRC’s electronic documents system.

While another anniversary has arrived for TMI, the work on keeping close watch on the plant goes on, and will continue for many years to come.

26 responses to “The Three Mile Island Nuclear Plant – An Update on the 35th Anniversary

  1. Garry Morgan December 5, 2014 at 8:33 am

    A bit of a sarcastic reply.

    Of course Mr. Adams, “radiation” is very safe, that is the reason the immediate areas surrounding the Fukushima nuclear disaster are safe, the workers should not wear protective gear when cleaning up the contamination. Dr. Karl Morgan did not know what he was talking about concerning Health Physics because he did not have you to instruct him. Of course, the lessons learned from nuclear disasters are not real and are all plots of the infamous Rockefellers.

    Maybe the “radiation” surrounding the Fukushima plant site it is not contamination, maybe it is a health benefit, Hormesis Theory – probably a secret part of Obama Care. Since you maintain that we are living in a 1950’s radiation protective environment and and the Rockefeller Foundation is the cause of your and the nuclear industry’s problems, why not go to the contaminated areas surrounding the Fukushima plant site and roll around in the contaminants along with drinking and bathing in all that fresh, contained contaminated water. Surely you will be healed, live a long life and you will be able to say, “See I was right, and everyone else supporting increased risk analysis, caution and safety regarding ionizing radiation are pawns of the Rockefellers.” Or, reality might set in and you might ask after your Radiation Hormesis trip to Japan, ” Why do I not fell well?”

  2. Mike willimams December 4, 2014 at 4:31 pm

    Each time I read the passionate though misguided comments typlified by many of the above, I am struck by just how technoligically and scientifically illiterate this country has become. This is unfortunately equally as evident among our representatives in the Congress. I have worked around radiation and in the nuclear industry for 48 years and the scariest thing to me, is not radiation, it is someone who has spent a few hours on google and who now knows everything. My kids used to know everything when in their teens but they grew up.

    • Garry Morgan December 5, 2014 at 8:57 am

      The sarcastic side – Mr. Williams, because you are brilliant and most are ignorant, according to you, please see the above post directed to Mr. Adams. Y’all have many thoughts in common and everyone else are just country bumpkins awaiting for y’alls superior intellect to enlighten us to the benefits of nuclear weapons and the cost benefits of nuclear power. Of course the millions of pounds of spent nuclear fuel is perfectly safe, and the many years of education and military involvement I experienced means absolutely nothing. That is my sarcastic reply to you.

      Reality – It is folks such as you which are scary as you pretend to have answers which are not reality. Like others in the nuclear industry your attitude becomes dangerous when applied to the problems we as a nation face regarding costs, nuclear waste, nuclear risks and a decaying and antiquated nuclear power infra-structure.

      We got nuclear problems.

      Moderator note: some verbiage removed to adhere to blog guidelines

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