Remembering the Three Mile Island meltdown

by Mike Gaworecki

March 27, 2009

Saturday, March 28th, is the 30th anniversary of the reactor meltdown at the Three Mile Island nuclear plant. The nuclear industry is currently trying to portray itself as making a comeback, and working hard to paint nuclear energy as an environmentally friendly solution to global warming. So it’s that much more important to remember what really happened that day:

Radiation leaked from the damaged reactor for days as government regulators scrambled to get radiation monitoring equipment into surrounding communities. The Governor of Pennsylvania eventually ordered an evacuation of pregnant women and children. The accident at Three Mile Island sent the nuclear industry into a tailspin. Already staggering under the weight of over $100 billion dollars in cost overruns, the meltdown showed Americans that not only was nuclear power expensive it was also dangerous. The nuclear industry turned a multi-million dollar asset into a multi-billion dollar liability overnight, and demonstrated that both the government and industry were thoroughly unprepared for the accident and its aftermath.

But now that memories of the meltdown and the ensuing panic have faded, the nuclear industry and those in their employ are claiming that Three Mile Island was really a success story and that the radiation was contained.

Of course, this episode in American history was anything but a success story for the nuclear industry, no matter how hard they try to rewrite history. Read our nuclear expert’s takedown of the nuclear industry’s PR spin in his HuffPo blog post.

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