Three Mile Island’s Unit 1 reactor could cost nearly $1 billion to shut down

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It could cost nearly $1 billion to shut down Three Mile Island‘s Unit 1 reactor if the plant’s owner does not get its operating license renewed, according to a report prepared by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Though the report acknowledges Exelon Generation will likely receive a 20-year extension, the report detailing the shutdown cost is required every time a nuclear plant comes within five years of the end of its license. The plant’s current license expires in 2014.

The report gives several scenarios for decommissioning the plant. The most likely is a system called SAFSTOR, which basically means mothballing the unit and monitoring it for up to 60 years, according to NRC spokesman Neal Sheehan. The size of the industrial site, coupled with the need to safeguard radioactive materials, leads to the high decommissioning costs, he said.


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