3 Mile Island nuclear power plant shutdown poses no threat, authorities say

Thursday, November 2nd 2006, 10:37 pm
By: News On 6

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) -- The reactor at Three Mile Island, site of the nation's worst nuclear accident, shut down Thursday, but radiation was not released and there was no danger to the public, company and federal officials said.

A faulty instrument reading triggered the automatic shutdown, officials said. It was the first shutdown of Unit 1 since 1997, said Ralph DeSantis, a spokesman for the plant's operator, AmerGen Energy Co. LLC.

The unit, which opened in 1974, shut off at 1:35 p.m. and remained down Thursday evening.

"It appears this was an uncomplicated, smooth shutdown," said Neil Sheehan, a spokesman for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

DeSantis said other power plants in the regional electricity grid would ensure that customers experienced no power failures. Workers were investigating, and it was unclear when the reactor would resume operation.

The plant, about 10 miles southeast of Harrisburg, was the site of the nation's worst nuclear accident when a partial meltdown occurred in the Unit 2 reactor in March 1979.