Contractor dies at Three Mile Island after ‘material handling accident’

LONDONDERRY TOWNSHIP, Pa. — A worker at Three Mile Island nuclear power plant has died after a “material handling accident.”

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The United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission confirmed the incident which happened Friday morning.

First responders were called to the plant to treat the worker, but he was declared dead at the scene, WPMT reported.

The USNRC said in the commission’s event reports, the man was outside of the “Radiological Controlled Area.”

Exelon Generation, owners of the power plant, said in a statement to WGAL: “We are deeply saddened that a contract worker was fatally injured around 11 a.m. Friday while unloading equipment from a truck at Three Mile Island. We send our condolences to the individual’s family, friends and colleagues.”

WGAL reported that Unit 1, where the incident occurred, was shut down permanently in September 2019 and is being dismantled.

Unit 2 reactor partially melted down on March 29, 1979, according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. There was a failure that prevented water from being sent to remove the heat from the reactor car, causing the plant’s turbine generator and then the reactor to shut down. A valve remained open when it should have closed and allowed steam to escape. That and the water cooling failure led to core overheating.

For more on the Three Mile Island disaster of 1979, click here.

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