Thursday, March 28, 2019

40 years after Three Mile Island


Excerpting a bit from the LNP/LancasterOnline's editorial this morning...
Forty years ago today, in the quiet hour between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m., a combination of equipment failure and human error ignited one of the biggest scares in Pennsylvania history. At Three Mile Island Nuclear Generating Station in Dauphin County, Unit 2 suffered a partial meltdown of the reactor core, just three months after it had been commissioned.
I was not around this area during the TMI partial meltdown. I was eight years old and we were living in Clayton, New Jersey, far outside the danger zone. I honestly don't remember hearing or talking about it at the time, either. It was only as I got older and returned to Pennsylvania that "TMI" became those ominous initials and, on occasion, we could see those four concrete cooling towers looming over the horizon when driving past Harrisburg.

My former mother-in-law was living in the Dover area during the partial meltdown. She says the plan, in the event the 1979 emergency escalated (it did not) was that her husband would be activated by the military to assist with traffic/evacuation control. She, meanwhile, would get in the truck with the goats and the gun and head in the direction of safety. Many thousands had to ponder plans like that in the days following the nuclear accident.

Years ago, while I was working at the York Daily Record, the newspaper discontinued its index-card archiving system. Over the years, each article had been documented on one or more topic cards, which were added to a sprawling catalog in the library. When they decided to ditch the system and "go digital," the plan was to trash all of those thousands of cards. Naturally, I took a couple of shoeboxes full, to use for notes and lists, if nothing else. Among the cards I kept were ones related to the York Daily Record's coverage of Three Mile Island over the years. And that's what I'm sharing today for the 40th anniversary.




TMI anniversary coverage links

Sarah and I visited Goldsboro in April 2018 to photograph Three Mile Island...

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