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Three Mile Island nuclear reactor shuts down unexpectedly
A reactor at Three Mile Island, the site of the nation’s worst nuclear accident, shut down unexpectedly on Thursday afternoon when a coolant pump tripped and steam was released, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission told NBC News.
The system tripped when "the pump stopped operating and created a power/flow imbalance," said NRC spokesman Neil Sheehan.
The plant responded as designed and is stable with no impact on public health or safety, added NRC spokeswoman Diane Screnci.
If any radiation was in the released steam, Screnci said, it would be below detectable levels.
Exelon, the plant operator, said in a statement that "during the shutdown, steam was released into the atmosphere, creating a loud noise heard by nearby residents."
Plant operators were not yet sure what caused the problem.
Repairs underway at Exelon PA Three Mile Island reactor
Exelon Corp said it was conducting repairs on a reactor coolant pump at the 805-megawatt
Unit 1 of its Three Mile Island nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania, which shut down automatically on Thursday following a malfunction.
"The cause of yesterday's shutdown was a problem with a reactor coolant pump," company spokesman Ralph DeSantis said.
He did not specify any return date for the unit.