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Snag cleared up for cleanup at Three Mile Island plant

Workers at the Three Mile Island (TMI) nuclear power plant fixed a switch Thursday that had halted work on the $1 billion cleanup operation. The switch in a crane had become stuck while trying to place a temporary shield over the exposed reactor after the lid had been removed. The lid was lifted late Tuesday night for the first time since the 1979 accident, which damaged the reactor core and caused radioactive leakage. The removal was considered a milestone in the $1 billion cleanup of TMI Unit 2, because it gives workers access to the radioactive fuel and rubble inside the reactor.

With the lid off and the radioactive core exposed, the radiation level near the reactor jumped to 35 times previous readings. But Nuclear Regulatory Commission officials said it was still 10 times lower than they had estimated.

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