Exelon Generation files Three Mile Island Unit 1 decommissioning report

Published on April 09, 2019 by Kevin Randolph

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Exelon Generation, which owns and operates the Three Mile Island (TMI) Unit 1 nuclear energy facility near Harrisburg, Penn., recently filed the Post Shutdown Decommissioning Activities Report (PSDAR) for the plant with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

The federally required PSDAR details plans for the plant after its final shutdown, which is scheduled for September 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,” TMI Unit 1 Site Vice President Edward Callan said. “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.”

Exelon Generation selected SAFSTOR, one of the three federally allowed decommissioning options for the plant, and described its plan to dismantle large components, including the station’s cooling towers, beginning in 2074. The company noted the SAFSTOR option provides a safer environment for the decommissioning workforce by allowing additional time for normal radioactive decay, resulting in less waste and lower radiation exposure.

The company will transition used nuclear fuel into the spent fuel pool and then move it 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.

Absent market or policy reform, facility staffing will be reduced in three phases from 675 employees in 2017 when Exelon announced the plant’s premature retirement to 50 full-time employees in 2022.

The company noted that the plant will remain operating if a policy solution is enacted.

“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,” the company said in a news release. “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.”