Thursday, March 26, 2009

Three Mile Island: A good neighbor?

The irony is that 30 years after the most infamous U.S. accident since the splitting of the atom, there is talk of a nuclear-power revival, driven by greenhouse-gas concerns. A separate reality is that three decades after the iconic partial-meltdown at Three Mile Island, the nuclear plant's surviving Unit 1 reactor is almost assured of soon receiving government permission to continue operating through 2034. Is that a good thing? Yes, says Ralph DeSantis, spokesman for TMI's current owner, Exelon. "We pride ourselves on being a good neighbor." No, says Eric Epstein of Three Mile Island Alert, a longtime critic of TMI. Epstein is most concerned about highly radioactive spent nuclear fuel that is stored in a swimming-pool-like structure on the island because the federal government has been unable to deliver on its promise to develop a central waste-storage site for the country's reactors. "We never signed up to host a high-level nuclear radioactive waste site," complains Epstein. TMI is in southern Dauphin County, about 20 miles from downtown Lancaster.

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