Is it still possible to save Three Mile Island?
Forty years after the worst nuclear plant accident in U.S. history, the fight to save that facility — and potentially Pennsylvania’s entire nuclear future — is about to pick up steam in the state Capitol.
Three Mile Island, still infamous for its partial meltdown in March 1979, is scheduled to begin shutting down in September.
Beaver Valley Nuclear Power Station in Beaver County is planned to close in 2021.
And in an electric market that pits aging and expensive nuclear plants against cheaper and less labor-intense natural gas, some say Pennsylvania’s three other nuclear plants won’t be far behind.
The timeline for lawmakers to intervene — preventing what advocates say would be a devastating loss for the environment, grid reliability and the economy — is unforgiving.
To save TMI, legislation needs to be introduced, vetted, passed through both chambers and signed by the governor by the end of May, said state Sen. Ryan Aument, who has led the Nuclear Energy Caucus for the last two years.
His group quietly announced its official proposed fix last week, stating in memos that upcoming legislation will include nuclear energy in the state’s Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards. That would essentially force consumers to pick up part of the tab in compensating plants for their zero carbon-emissions impact.
Gov. Tom Wolf, who recently announced his ambitious greenhouse gas reduction plan, said in an interview last week he hasn’t considered the legislation yet because it hasn’t been fully formulated. But he said he is personally focused on what happens to the plant workers and communities around them.