Employees ‘solemn’ after owner says Three Mile Island to shut down

MIDDLETOWN, Pa. (WHTM) – Nathan Grove has worked at the generating station on Three Mile Island for more than a decade.

Grove, the chairman of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 777, is one of 675 employees who will be out of a job if the nuclear power plant closes in 2019.

“It’s a pretty solemn feeling across the membership right now,” Grove said.

TMI’s owner, Illinois-based Exelon Corporation, told employees it plans to retire the generating station on or about September 20, 2019, unless the state steps in to help.

Exelon spokesman Dave Marcheskie said TMI has not been profitable in five years and the company last week failed to sell its electricity to the mid-Atlantic power grid for the third year in a row.

Marcheskie said there has been a lack of energy policies.

“This is closure, this is a serious announcement,” Marcheskie said. “We have 675 employees at risk of losing their jobs.”

Not everyone is upset by the possible closure of TMI; the site of America’s worst commercial nuclear accident in 1979. Scott Portzline of the watchdog group Three Mile Island Alert said in a statement that Pennsylvania legislators “should pave the way for upstart wind and solar power equipment manufacturers”.

Mike Pries, a Dauphin County commissioner, said the plant provides $1 million in taxes to the state. He said that would be a big loss for the Midstate if the plant closes.

“Hopefully, we can work together and find a solution so we have better answers moving forward,” he said.

Marcheskie told ABC27 News the Nuclear Regulatory Commission would lead the way to decommission the plant. He added the process could take decades.

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