Response to Questions Raised Concerning Three Mile Island-2 Cleanup Schedule and Cost

EMD-82-90: Published: Jul 20, 1982. Publicly Released: Aug 23, 1982.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO was asked to update a prior report on the Three Mile Island (TMI) cleanup costs and answer questions raised in response to events that have transpired since then. The questions include: (1) whether the TMI-2 cleanup schedule has slipped beyond 1987; (2) the current cost estimate for repairing TMI-1 steam generators and the funds that are available to the General Public Utilities Corporation (GPU) for this purpose; (3) the extent to which funds originally intended for TMI-2 have been allocated to TMI-1 steam generator work; (4) the amount of the GPU long-term debt that is due between November 1982 and May 1983 and the difficulty GPU will encounter in meeting these obligations; and (5) the current GAO assessment of the $760-million TMI-2 cleanup cost estimate.

GPU has prepared several estimates of the cost and completion date for cleaning up the damage suffered at TMI-2 in 1979. Each study has taken into consideration the most current information available and each in turn has generally escalated both cost and time elements of the project. The current estimated cost for the repair work on the TMI-1 steam generators is $30 million. GPU expects to obtain these funds by redirecting the TMI-1 restart activities toward the generator repairs. The reduction in the 1982 GPU TMI-2 cleanup budget to $60 million has had minimal impact on increasing the availability of funds needed to pay for the steam generator tube repairs. GAO found that GPU will require additional bank borrowings in 1983 to pay off its long-term debt. It is unlikely that GPU will be able to pay off its Revolving Credit Agreement obligation by December 31, 1982. GAO believes that, if adequate financial resources can be provided to GPU so that required cleanup operations can proceed with minimal delays, the cleanup could be completed for less than the $760 million. However, if funding uncertainties continue and money is not available when needed, cleanup activities will have to be delayed even longer, and that could escalate costs beyond the current $760-million projection.