Three Mile Island nuclear plant shuts down unexpectedly

Three Mile Island plant, scene of the worst nuclear power accident in the US, shut down automatically after failure of a coolant pump. Officials say the Three Mile Island shutdown poses no threat.

Bradley C Bower/AP/File
The Three Mile Island nuclear power generating station in Middletown, Pa., shown here in a 2011 file photo, shut down automatically Thursday when a coolant pump failed. It's the second shutdown at the plant in two months.

A malfunctioning pump at the site of the worst nuclear power plant accident in U.S. history has triggered an automatic shutdown.

Thursday's shutdown at Pennsylvania's Three Mile Island was the second in as many months. Government regulators and plant officials say it poses no threat to public health or safety. Operator Exelon Generation Co. says no detectable levels of radiation escaped.

The failure of a coolant pump tripped a computerized system that shuts downs the reactor. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission says once the reactor has cooled, plant workers can access the containment building and troubleshoot.

The plant also automatically shut down Aug. 22 while operators were manually shutting it down for repairs.

The plant is named after the island where it's located in the Susquehanna River. It had a partial meltdown of a reactor in 1979.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.
Real news can be honest, hopeful, credible, constructive.
What is the Monitor difference? Tackling the tough headlines – with humanity. Listening to sources – with respect. Seeing the story that others are missing by reporting what so often gets overlooked: the values that connect us. That’s Monitor reporting – news that changes how you see the world.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to

QR Code to Three Mile Island nuclear plant shuts down unexpectedly
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today