Home / Business / Three Mile Island, the site of the 1979 meltdown, is completely shut down

Three Mile Island, the site of the 1979 meltdown, is completely shut down

HARRISBURG, Pa. – The money-losing Three Mile Island, the 1979 site of America's worst commercial nuclear accident, was closed on Friday by its energy giant owner.

The end of the 45-year electricity generating career for Three Mile Island Unit 1 came after Chicago-based Exelon Corp. tried and failed to get financial support from Pennsylvania in the spring.

Three Mile Island & # 39; s Unit 1 was opened in 1974 and licensed to operate through 2034, but Exelon complained that the plant lost money on competitive electricity markets.

Three Mile Island also faced particularly difficult finances because the 1

979 accident that destroyed Unit 2 left it with only one reactor.

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Unloading unit 1, dismantling buildings and removing spent fuel can take six decades and cost more more than $ 1 billion, Exelon estimates, though companies specializing in radioactive material management buy retired US nuclear reactors and promise to do so for a decade.

The destroyed unit 2 is sealed and its two cooling towers remain. Its core was sent to the U.S. years ago Department of Energy & # 39; s Idaho National Laboratory. What remains in the containment building remains highly radioactive and enclosed in concrete.

Work to dismantle Unit 2 is scheduled to begin in 2041 and be completed by 2053, its owner, FirstEnergy, has said.

No nuclear power plant proposed after the 1979 accident has been successfully completed and put into operation in the United States.

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