Three Mile Island

In this March photo, a pickup truck travels on Route 441 in the shadow of Three Mile Island cooling towers. The iconic clouds of water vapor are no longer seen, as TMI ceased producing electricity last month.

The southernmost tip of Three Mile Island extends into Conoy Township, Lancaster County.

Even if it didn’t, the municipality considers itself closely tied to the eponymous nuclear plant, said Stephen Mohr, a longtime township supervisor and Bainbridge resident.

“We always considered TMI to be one of our local employers,” Mohr said. “We have quite a number of workers who live here.”

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The township does not receive any money directly from plant owner Exelon. But of its 675 workers, more live in Lancaster County — 202 — than any other county. They pay real estate and school taxes.

Exelon says the company and its TMI employees have donated $6 million to area nonprofits since 2000. The company assesses its local economic impact during that period at $3.5 billion when counting wages, taxes and purchases from local vendors and businesses.

If the plant closes and workers move away, the impact on Conoy Township would be felt both financially and socially, Mohr said.

He said he knows of nervous TMI employees who have already left their jobs at the plant to find more secure ones.

Upriver, if the plant closes early, Pat Devlin isn’t changing the name of his The Nuclear Bean coffee shop.

Nor will he stop brewing a TMI PA, the flagship beer at the Tattered Flag Brewery in Middletown, where patrons can see the plant’s hyperboloid-shaped cooling towers from the windows.

With stiff upper lips, merchants say few businesses depend solely on the plant operator or its employees.

But it’s still not a good look for Middletown, which has become linked in geography and news media datelines to TMI.

“You’re taking away another business source. We want to be adding businesses,” Devlin said.

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