TMI maintenance helps power economy - abc27 WHTM

TMI maintenance helps power economy

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Three Mile Island shut down early this morning for routine maintenance work, and more than 1,700 workers are in town to get the job done.

While operations at the power plant have stopped, business is booming at hotels and restaurants.

You may notice that there is no steam coming from TMI's towers. No cause for alarm. There is no steam because the plant is temporarily shut down for refueling and maintenance.

"This is a scale model of an assembly. We have 177 of these in the reactor. We'll replace about 70 of them and then TMI will be able to operate for the next two years with this fuel," said Ralph DeSantis, TMI spokesman.

Workers will also perform other maintenance and upgrades that can only be done when the plant is shut down.

"Very much like a car you bring into the shop. While we are shut down we are going to replace pumps and valves," DeSantis said. "We are making some digital upgrades to the plant and modernizing the facility and making it ready to operate for another 20 years."

The refueling and maintenance shut down happens every two years. When it does there is always a surge in local business.

"We have about 1,700 additional workers here at the plant, so they're eating at local restaurants, staying at local hotels, having a pretty big economic impact on the Middletown/Harrisburg area," DeSantis said.

The Brownstone Cafe in Middletown is getting a taste of that.

"Brownstone is one of the nicest places to eat in Middletown," said Amy Golden, a server.

Golden said she has already waited on the extra power plant workers who are providing a powerful boost in tips.

"I'm married and have three beautiful children, so it always helps. A lot of us have families here. You don't make a lot on your hourly wage so you have to compensate it with your tips, so it does help," Golden said.

TMI officials said they are not sure how long the refueling and maintenance process will take. Customers should know the shut down will have no effect on them.


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