Three Mile Island went back online just after 9 a.m. this morning after the nuclear power plant experienced an unexpected shutdown Thursday afternoon.
The plant automatically shutdown Thursday after a relay switch to a reactor coolant pump was unexpectedly activated. Plant personnel replaced the relay and installed additional monitors. The pump was tested before the plant was restarted Saturday morning.
"We performed the necessary repairs safely and efficiently and are committed to a reliable operating cycle," said Rick Libra, TMI Site Vice President.
On Thursday, nearby residents heard a loud noise caused by the shutdown and subsequent release of steam.
"This is the first time I ever got scared when something like this happened," neighbor Sandra Myers said.
Myers, who has been a Middletown resident for nearly 40 years, said this was unprecedented.
"This was the loudest one," Myers said.
Exelon Spokesman Ralph DeSantsis said steam is always released in the atmosphere when an automatic shutdown occurs. He added that radiation levels in the steam were "below detectable levels."
The plant is designed to automatically shut down when necessary. DeSantis said TMI responded as designed and remains in normal shutdown condition while operators investigate the cause.
He said the automatic shutdown presents no risk to public health or safety and electric
customers will not be affected.
This incident is the second shutdown at TMI in less than a month. TMI's Unit One automatically shut down August 22 as it was being manually shut down for repairs to a heater element.
The power plant returned to service September 5.
DeSantis said Thursday's shutdown is not connected to the incident last month.
Eric Epstein, a member of the watchdog group Three Mile Alert, said having two shutdowns in such a short period of time is concerning.
"This latest incident coupled with the 12 day outage sparks several questions and concerns about the ability of this system to detect and prevent future problems," he said.
Epstein also raised several other questions about the issue, questioning whether or not the company has been putting off maintenance projects.