The 1979 accident at the Three Mile Island power plant, the worst in US history, claimed no lives but provoked an outcry over the country’s nuclear electricity program. Caused by mechanical, design and human errors, the partial meltdown registered a five on the International Nuclear Event Scale that peaks at seven, the rate given to the Chernobyl (1989) and Fukushima (2011) disasters. Here is a rundown of what happened on March 28, 1979 at one of the two reactors at the Three Mile Island Generating Station in eastern Pennsylvania.
Daily Mail 27th March 2019 read more »
40 years after Three Mile Island accident, debate over safety of nuclear energy still goes back and forth. Arnold “Arnie” Gundersen was a lead nuclear engineer in 1979 when the partial meltdown at Three Mile Island sent a tide of fear and panic across central Pennsylvania. Gundersen, a former licensed reactor operator, needed no coaxing to convince a jittery public that it had nothing to fear with regards to the March 28, 1979 accident at the Londonderry Township plant. “I was on television telling people not to worry,” said Gundersen, whose wife was pregnant at the time. “I was telling everybody, ‘Don’t worry. No radiation got released.’ I think I said, ‘The Titanic hit the iceberg and the iceberg sunk.’ I think that was my comment at the time and boy was I wrong.” But it took him about a decade to change his mind. His conversion from proponent to nuclear whistleblower occurred gradually in the 1990s as Gundersen, among other things, served on nuclear energy symposiums and as an expert witness for plaintiffs lawsuits against the nuclear industry. “I was on the other side of the argument,” said Gundersen, who sits on the board of the Fairewinds Energy Education, a Charleston, S.C.-based anti-nuclear energy nonprofit that advocates for renewable energy. “I would call myself a nuclear zealot back then as opposed to a nuclear critic now.”
WITF 26th March 2019 read more »
Public will never know truth behind Three Mile Island, anti-nuclear energy advocates say. Those were some of the messages underscored on Monday by the head of Three Mile Island Alert, an anti-nuclear advocacy group, and other advocates at a press conference in the Main Rotunda of the state Capitol. Just days shy of the 40th anniversary of the partial meltdown at the Three Mile Island nuclear plant in Londonderry Township, TMI Alert’s Eric Epstein excoriated the nuclear industry for misrepresenting the facts of the accident, and in the process misleading and misinforming the public. “Three Mile Island is an accident without an ending,” Epstein said. “There’s no bookends to it. If you look at the holy trinity of nuclear accidents, Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima, we can probably pretty much tell you when they started. The reality is there is no ending. This is a funeral where the pallbearers need to stand in place for 500 years. That’s tough for a society that has the memory of a fruitfly.” Epstein was joined by Tim Judson, executive director of Nuclear Information and Resource Service, and Arnie Gundersen, a nuclear engineer, who over the years converted from a proponent to an ardent critic.
WITF 26th March 2019 read more »