Lawmakers upset over Exelon's handling of refueling project

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Lawmakers continue to express frustration over what they call "corporate irresponsibility" on the part of Exelon, in how they’re handling the refueling project at the Limerick nuclear power plant. 

"My experience has been incredibly disappointing and frustrating," said State Senator Katie Muth, who represents parts of Montgomery, Chester and Berks counties around Limerick Generating Station.

In the past, she said, Exelon gave plenty of heads-up about refueling projects, which typically were in June. But this year, Muth said she didn’t find out until just days before it was to begin.

"And knowing the intricate workforce that needed to come in and fuel rods," she explained, "I then realized to stop it or push it back to the summer pretty much became a non-existent option."

Muth said she was told the project would start March 29, but when she and other lawmakers started asking questions, they learned it started March 27 instead.

"When you start refueling that Friday night and say you’re doing it Sunday, I think it’s pretty obvious what’s going on," she said.

Muth joined Montgomery County commissioners and Congresswoman Madeleine Dean in calling for Exelon to be more forthcoming with information they all say is crucial to protecting not only workers at the plant, but also residents across the region.

That includes specific locations of where the hundreds of out-of-state workers are staying, as they’ve learned there are more than 40 locations in Montgomery, Chester, and Berks counties, including Airbnbs, campsites, and other rentals.

"And now we have no idea if someone is sent home if they’re symptomatic, what does home mean?" she asked.

Muth said she still hasn’t heard from Exelon if they are paying workers who are isolated after testing positive or who are quarantined with symptoms or after possible exposure.

She also wants Exelon to commit to quarantining workers for 14 days before moving on the next refueling site, something she says so far the company has refused to do.

"Really, it’s insulting that you want to come into our community, put us at harm. You have the money to reduce harm, you’re not taking the steps that we’re asking you to," Muth said.

Exelon has not responded with information about how many employees or contractors have been sent home with either symptoms or positive coronavirus tests. The company also hasn't said if it plans to pay workers and contractors who have to isolate or quarantine because of the disease.