BEAVER COUNTY (KDKA) — The Three Mile Island Nuclear Plant near Harrisburg officially stopped making electricity Friday.
It is the site of the worst commercial nuclear power accident in US history.
On the same day of the closure, hundreds of people rallied to keep the Beaver Valley Power Station up and running.
Workers, neighbors and several State Representatives voiced their concerns and gathered in great numbers on the steps of the Beaver County Courthouse to speak out and to be heard in Harrisburg.
The Beaver Valley Power Station in Shippingport is slated to shut down in June 2021.
They are demanding action by the state legislature and Governor Tom Wolf to enact energy policy reforms to prevent the plant from closing and to keep the smokestacks working.
One of the speakers was State Representative Rob Matzie.
“We are hopeful that we can craft something that has bipartisan support that can actually be voted out of committee, debated on the floor and get to the Governor’s desk,” he said. “It’s a tough task, I’m not gonna lie.”
More than 1,000 people are employed at the Beaver Valley Power Station and those at the rally say not only will it affect the economy, but the school district and the community at large.
Maryanne York and her husband moved to the valley nearly 40 years ago. Her husband just retired from the plant, but the tradition lives on.
“Both my sons work there, my brother works there, my brother-in-law works there and daughter-in-law’s father and brother both work there,” she said.
If the Beaver Valley Power Station shuts down, Alan Fritz, the Superintendent of the South Side Area School District says the impact will be overwhelming.
“It would have devastating effects, it’s about a third of our net tax income, about 2.7 million dollars,” he said. “The school district could not function the way that we do right now or even come close to remaining at the level we currently exist.”
This rally comes the same day the famous Three Mile Island officially shuts down.
In 1979, the nuclear plant in Middletown, Pennsylvania experienced the meltdown of one of its reactors.
Amy Bowan just celebrated her 12th year at the Beaver Valley Power Station.
“Our brothers and sisters over at TMI are opening the breakers,” she said. “They are not coming back. They can’t sell their homes, Mom and Pop shops are already closed. We can’t let that happen here.”