Water evaporation completes cleanup at Three Mile Island

MIDDLETOWN, Pa. -- Operators of Three Mile Island nuclear plant say they have completed their $1 billion cleanup of the reactor that reached a near meltdown in the nation's worst commercial nuclear accident 14 years ago.

The last of 2.23 million gallons of radioactive water resulting from the 1979 accident at the nuclear plant 10 miles south of the state capital of Harrisburg, has been evaporated, a spokeswoman said Friday.


Mary Wells, a spokeswoman for GPU Nuclear, which owns the TMI plant in Middletown said the last water was evaporated at 5 a.m. Thursday. The total volume of water evaporated was slightly less than the original estimate of 2.3 million gallons.

The water was generated during the accident and cleanup activities that followed and had been contained in tanks built for water storage following the accident and within tanks and systems inside the plant.

The water evaporation process began in January 1991 after approval by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

The accident on March 28, 1979, was the United States' worst commercial nuclear power plant accident. TMI's Unit 2 reactor was destroyed in the accident, but Unit 1 was not damaged and was restarted in 1985.


A series of human and mechanical failures caused the cooling system to malfunction and severely damaged the core of the plant before it was controlled. The radioactive core and fuel was removed and transported to a federal nuclear burial ground in the western United States.

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