Employees, officials rally lawmakers to save Three Mile Island

Harrisburg

Three Mile Island employees, nuclear energy advocates, and local government leaders gathered in Middletown on Thursday and urged state lawmakers to save the nuclear power plant.

Exelon Corporation has said it will close TMI by Sept. 30 of next year.

“The clock is ticking on a solution and it’s ticking right now. Time is running out,” Dauphin County Commissioner Mike Pries said. “If they don’t act and level the playing field for nuclear power, one year from now will be a very sad day for central Pennsylvania.”

State Rep. Tom Mehaffie (R-Dauphin), a member of the Clean Air Coalition and the Nuclear Energy Caucus, says they are on a fact-finding mission, looking at others states like New Jersey and New York that have already gone through nuclear plant closures. He says they’re working to introduce legislation next year.

“The nuclear caucus is basically driving us to this point,” Mehaffie said. “We’re trying to educate our fellow colleagues in the House and the Senate and making sure we do it the right way.”

“If TMI were to shut down, it’s going to be a ripple effect that could really devastate the community,” TMI spokesman Dave Marcheskie said.

Dave Kitner, owner of Roberto’s Pizza, says many of his customers are TMI employees and contractors. 

“It’s going to affect the bottom line tremendously,” he said.

Exelon has said TMI hasn’t turned a profit in six years because of low wholesale power prices and the “lack of federal or Pennsylvania energy policies that value zero-emissions nuclear energy.”

Cheap natural gas from the Marcellus Shale field has been flooding the power market. The nuclear power industry has been lobbying lawmakers in Pennsylvania and other states for a financial rescue.

Exelon announced in 2016 that it would close two nuclear power stations in Illinois and two others in upstate New York. Those plans were called off after lawmakers in both states voted to raise electricity rates to bail out the power plants.

Citizens Against Nuclear Bailouts responded to the event by saying “Pennsylvania should not follow in the footsteps of New York, Illinois and New Jersey, which enacted multi-billion bailouts for the nuclear industry.”

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