Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Rendell Angry Over Delay In Hearing from TMI

Governor Rendell says he’s angry it took more than five hours for Exelon Nuclear to notify Pennsylvania officials about a minor radiation leak at Three Mile Island this weekend.
Low levels of radiation—the equivalent of a few X-rays—were detected inside Three Mile Island’s Unit One reactor on Saturday afternoon, around four.
Governor Rendell says he’s irked state officials didn’t find out about the incident until after nine PM.
He says his frustration is compounded by the fact Exelon officials didn’t tell authorities about a series of false alarms on Monday night until the next morning.

"Pick up the phone and call PEMA. And say, look, we think this is a false alarm. We’re going to monitor the level to see if there’s any unusual radiation. We’ll get back to you as soon as we know that. There’s no reason we shouldn’t be notified. And probably the Dauphin County EMA folks should be notified, as well, and the NRC should be notified."

Saturday’s radiation levels were below the legal requirement for notification, but Exelon spokeswoman Beth Archer says the company “appreciates” Rendell’s concern.

"While this wasn’t an emergency at Three Mile Island, we fully support the governor’s goal of timely notification. We certainly appreciate the governor’s concern. And that is exactly why we’re going to sit down with state, local and federal officials to do a lessons learned meeting."

Rendell says Exelon should have notified state and federal officials of the incident right away, noting he would have had to mobilize the National Guard in the event of a serious emergency.

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