February 28, 2006
Pennsylvania acts after Three Mile Island snooze
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Pennsylvania conducted surprise
inspections at its five nuclear plants after learning that a
shift supervisor had fallen asleep at the Three Mile Island
nuclear power plant, the scene of the worst nuclear accident in
U.S. history, a spokesman for Pennsylvania Gov. Edward Rendell
said on Tuesday.
All five plants passed the inspections, officials said.
The 1979 accident at Three Mile Island accident shocked the
nation and brought new construction of nuclear power stations
to a halt. But President George W. Bush, in his State of the
Union address last month, has called for new plants and several
companies are planning to construct new nuclear reactors on the
sites of existing plants.
Pennsylvania's Department of Environmental Protection found
all plant personnel awake and alert during its surprise
inspections, which will continue twice each month for the rest
of the year, The department's Bureau of Radiation Protection.
Inspections will continue twice each month through 2006.
On December 11, a shift supervisor was reported as falling
asleep on the job. On Tuesday, the plant's operator, AmerGen
Energy, said the supervisor has been reassigned to another job
not linked to operation of the reactor.
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission is investigating
security at Three Mile Island after the head of security wrote
in a memo last October that veteran guards were training the
new guards on the best places to take a nap.
Pennsylvania's inspections were made, the governor's office
said, "to ensure control room, security and other vital
personnel are alert and performing their duties in a manner to
keep the facilities operating safely."
AmerGen Energy is a subsidiary of Exelon Corp., based in