The Nuclear Regulatory Commission opens the door to a 31 year old environmental mess

Posted by By at 23 November, at 01 : 57 AM Print

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has agreed to address the remains of a 30 year old nuclear mess.

The “mess” is located at Three Mile Island’s, Unit 2, just outside Harrisburg. The unit has not been thoroughly decontaminated since the partial core meltdown in 1979.

Eric Epstein, one of the founders of Rock The Capital and Chairman of TMI-Alert filed a petition in October asking the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to audit a fund that was set up years ago to decontaminate and decommission TMI-2.

The NRC, last week agreed, that there is enough merit to push Epstein’s petition, known as a 2.206, forward. Epstein asserted in his October filing that FirstEnergy does not have enough money to decommission, let alone further decontaminate the site.

As Epstein noted the cost estimate is pegged at $831.5 million and the trust fund as of 2008 was woefully underfunded with a balance of $484.5 million.

The scrutiny arrives at a time when First Energy has proposed merging with Allegheny, which Epstein says will further complicate and cloud the matter. As Epstein put it, “the proposed merger must be held in abeyance until First Energy can demonstrate that it has adequate funding in place to decommission Three Mile Island Unit 2 in 2036 — 57 years after the accident.”

Will the NRC hold FirstEnergy accountable? Diane Screnci, a spokesperson for the NRC told Rock The Capital, “we will look at what was provided to us and determine what if any action we need to take.”

If the NRC rules in Epstein’s favor, it can prevent the power company merger.

The NRC is expected to issue a decision by March 2011.

The NRC has long maintained the site poses no public health or safety issue, but says it is possible to clean it.

FirstEnergy has not returned calls to Rock The Capital.

FirstEnergy, owns seven electric companies including Penelec, serving roughly 4.5 million customers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.

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Eric is a national award winning storyteller. Eric’s work is credited with changing laws, saving lives, and in one instance, saving taxpayers about $2,000,000.00. Mr. Zager’s career in journalism is ripped from the pages of an adventure novel. Upon graduating from the esteemed Newhouse School of Public Communications, he headed north, about as far as one can travel and still stand in the Continental U.S. The call of journalism not a penchant to play with Polar Bears brought Zager to the ‘Last Frontier-Juneau, Alaska. Over the course of Zager’s more than 20 years in journalism, he has covered the political side of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill, dodged horse manure on the backside of Churchill Downs, and has uncovered numerous scams and scam artists. Eric is constantly in search of a meaningful story to tell. - Email Eric Zager

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