U.S. Department of Energy Officials Tour

Three Mile Island Unit 2

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February 25, 2022 -- EnergySolutions hosted three visitors from the Department of Energy (DOE) on Friday, February 25th, 2022, for a tour of Three Mile Island Unit-2: Betsy Forinash (far left), Director, Office of Infrastructure Management and Disposition Policy; Nancy Buschman (center right), Director, Office of Infrastructure and D&D; and Kristen Ellis (center left), Director, Office of Regulatory, Intergovernmental and Stakeholder Engagement.

The tour was led by Jim Byrne (far right), former manager of engineering and licensing for Three Mile Island, accompanied by John Yeliseyev, senior project engineer, and Hannah Pell, licensing engineer and TMI-2 Community Advisory Panel member. The group toured the Unit-2 turbine building and control room as Byrne detailed the evolution of the facility from the 1979 accident through the years of cleanup and entrance into safe and stable Post-Defueling Monitored Storage condition. During the core debris transportation campaign in the 1980s, approximately 99% of TMI-2’s nuclear fuel was removed and shipped to a long-term storage facility at the DOE’s Idaho National Laboratory, officially transferring ownership of the debris material from GPU Nuclear to the DOE.

Forinash emphasized that DOE’s unique history with TMI-2 offers many valuable lessons learned for decommissioning other nuclear plants. “It was fascinating to see a site that’s so notable in our nation’s nuclear past... TMI’s transition to active decommissioning is an exciting step we’re also taking with retired DOE facilities, which include research and production reactors. Keeping the institutional memory alive—and accessible—about older facilities is something we’re paying more attention to, both to inform our decommissioning approach and from a historical perspective.”

“Success in decommissioning is multi-dimensional. It requires tackling technical issues, but also project management, planning, safety culture, and regulatory and stakeholder engagement. We look forward to tracking the progress at TMI and continuing a dialogue to share our experience,” Buschman said.

Stakeholder engagement was also an integral aspect of the TMI-2 core debris transportation campaign. Both TMI-2 and DOE officials participated in press conferences and other community interfaces, setting a significant historical precedent for the amount information and access provided to the public. For example, at a TMI media day in 1986, DOE displayed full-size and scale models of the casks that would house the fuel debris to demonstrate their safety features. Both then and now, effectively communicating with stakeholders remains invaluable. “Like TMI, our sites are located in communities that have a nuclear history and identity but encompass a wide range of views about what we’re doing. Providing different types of information and forms of communication is key to meaningful public engagement. It’s continually evolving,” Ellis said.

To learn more about the U.S. Department of Energy, visit their website at www.energy.gov.