Is Three Mile Island Still Active? The Nuclear Power Plant Today in 2022

three mile island still active

Getty The Three Mile Island Nuclear Plant is seen in the early morning hours March 28, 2011 in Middletown, Pennsylvania.

Viewers of the narrowly avoided crisis on “Meltdown: Three Mile Island” were left with one burning question: is the nuclear power plant still active today?

The answer in 2022 is “no.” However, the plant continued operating for decades before it was shut down just three years ago, in the fall of 2019, according to the Office of Nuclear Energy. The nuclear power plant near Middletown, Pennsylvania was the site of the most serious nuclear accident on U.S. soil, the government office writes.

“A combination of equipment failure and operator error led to the partial meltdown of the power plant’s Unit 2 reactor that resulted in the release of a small amount of radioactive material,” the Office of Nuclear Energy wrote.

Here’s what you need to know:


Unit 2 on Three Mile Island Was Shut Down Following its Partial Meltdown & Unit 1 Continued Operations for 40 Years

There were two nuclear reactors on Three Mile Island. Unit 1 began operating in 1974, and Unit 2 began operating four years later, in 1978. It was Unit 2 which experienced a partial meltdown in 1979, just one year after it became operational, according to the Office of Nuclear Energy.

“Unit 2 shut down following its partial meltdown in 1979,” the government web page says. “The fuel was removed and, along with the damaged reactor core debris, shipped to Idaho National Laboratory. The unit was placed in long term, monitored storage in 1993 to await decommissioning at the same time as Unit 1.”

Unit 1 continued its operations until its shutdown in 2019. The power plant generated more than 800 megawatts of electricity. At its peak, 675 people worked at the plant, the Office of Nuclear Energy writes.


Exelon, Which Owned the Power Plant, Closed Operations Because the Plant Was Losing Money

Exelon, which operated the nuclear power plant on Three Mile Island, was counting on legislative action in the Pennsylvania House and Senate to subsidize the plant, according to a statement from the company. When no action was taken on two bills before the state legislature, the company announced it would close.

“Today is a difficult day for our employees, who were hopeful that state policymakers would support valuing carbon-free nuclear energy the same way they value other forms of clean energy in time to save TMI from a premature closure,” said Bryan Hanson, Exelon senior vice president and chief nuclear officer. “I want to thank the hundreds of men and women who will continue to safely operate TMI through September. We will offer a position elsewhere in Exelon to every employee who wishes to stay with the company and is willing to relocate, and we will do all we can to support the community, the employees and their families during this difficult period.”

The company had campaigned to save its plant, saying that its carbon-free emissions were key in the climate change battle. NPR reported that other states took action in similar cases, including in Connecticut, Illinois, New Jersey and New York. The news outlet reported that the situation was different in Pennsylvania, with a powerful natural gas industry that opposed the move and industrial users and consumer advocates describing the subsidy request as a “bailout.”

READ NEXT: Rick Parks Now: Where Is the Three Mile Island Whistleblower Today?

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