Three Mile Island

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Watch guide to Netflix’s Three Mile Island docuseries
By Emma Derr, Nuclear Engineering Institute

Netflix is set to release a four-part docuseries this week about the accident in 1979 at the Three Mile Island (TMI) nuclear facility near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The accident caused fear, stress, and confusion, made worse by misinformation—which is why it is important to know the facts.

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5 facts to know about Three Mile Island
By U.S. Department of Energy

The most serious accident in U.S. commercial nuclear power plant operating history occurred at the Three Mile Island nuclear station in Pennsylvania. A combination of equipment failure and operator error led to the partial meltdown of the power plant’s Unit 2 reactor that resulted in the release of a small amount of radioactive material.

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Science: Three Mile Island’s cancer legacy?
By Science News Staff  

A new study suggests that people living near the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant in 1979, when it released radioactive gas into the air, may have suffered from a higher rate of some cancers in the first several years after the accident. But many epidemiologists are skeptical of the provocative findings, which were released today in a report in the current issue of the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. 

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How the Three Mile Island accident was made even worse by a chaotic response
By Erin Blackmore, History

The disaster itself was made worse by human error. And the botched public response was no different. During the tense days following the accident, conflicting reports and recommendations made it hard to know what to believe.

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Three Mile Island, and nuclear hopes and fears
By Clyde Habermen, The New York Times
The disaster at a Pennsylvania plant fueled misgivings about nuclear power, as have those at Chernobyl and Fukushima. But the fossil-fuel alternative still holds great allure.

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Lessons learned from Three Mile Island’s Meltdown
By Joel Rose, NPR

The partial core meltdown at Three Mile Island on March 28, 1979, was a major setback for nuclear power in the U.S. But the industry did learn some crucial lessons about safety and crisis management from the accident.

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40 years after a partial nuclear meltdown, a new push to keep Three Mile Island open 
By Marie Cusick, NPR  

Forty years ago, the most serious nuclear accident in U.S. history sparked a backlash against the industry and halted its growth for decades. Today, the remaining working reactor at Three Mile Island, Unit 1, faces new challenges, including cheaper competition in a rapidly shifting energy grid. Unit 1 at the plant, near Harrisburg, Pa., is slated to close later this year. 

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Three Mile Island Netflix Docuseries: A Nuclear Engineer Responds
By Brittney Bender, Bleeding Cool

Watching the first episode of Meltdown: Three Mile Island, it was clear that the reenactments were being a little overdramatic in the style of many docuseries before it. The way so many alarms went off at once wouldn’t be accurate, according to my dad. The fear of the community was real, mainly spiked by the release of the film The China Syndrome only weeks prior. With what happened at Three Mile Island, minimal radiation was released and the dramatics made it feel closer to Chernobyl which was in no way the same thing.

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Three Mile Island and lessons in crisis communication
By Hannah Pell, Physics Today  

At 10:00am on 29 March 1979, John “Jack” Herbein, vice president of Metropolitan Edison (Met-Ed), prepared to address a room packed wall-to-wall with reporters and cameras at the Hershey Convention Center in south-central Pennsylvania. It would be the first time Met-Ed officials faced the public directly since what the US Nuclear Regulatory  

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The communications failures lessons of Three Mile Island
By POWER

Just about all the experts agree that Three Mile Island (TMI) was not a serious accident. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t a serious screw-up. Things went wrong that should never go wrong. When they pumped the accident conditions through the Babcock and Wilcox (B&W) simulation of the TMI plant, they got a total core meltdown and a genuine catastrophe; fortunately, reality was more conservative than the B&W simulation.

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What did we learn from Three Mile Island
By Nuclear Newswire

On some levels, the accident that became known as TMI (Three Mile Island) was a wake-up call and an expensive learning opportunity for both the nuclear industry and the society it was attempting to serve. Some people woke up, some considered the event a nightmare that they would do anything to avoid repeating, and some hard lessons were properly identified and absorbed.

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Meltdown
By NPR’s Throughline Podcast

In the early hours of March 28, 1979, a system malfunction began what would become the worst nuclear accident in American history. What ensued punctured the public’s belief in the safety of nuclear energy and became an awful study in the consequences of communication breakdown during a crisis. This week, the fallout of who and what to trust when a catastrophic event occurs. 

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Netflix’s ‘Meltdown: Three Mile Island’ tells the history of the infamous nuclear plant accident. Here’s how we covered it.
By Nick Vadala, The Philadelphia Inquirer

More than 40 years ago, central Pennsylvania was the site of what is considered the worst nuclear accident in the United States: the partial meltdown of Three Mile Island.

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Three Mile Island accident
By World Nuclear Association 

The accident to unit 2 happened at 4 am on 28 March 1979 when the reactor was operating at 97% power. It involved a relatively minor malfunction in the secondary cooling circuit which caused the temperature in the primary coolant to rise. This in turn caused the reactor to shut down automatically. Shut down took about one second.  

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Three Mile Island: The inside story 
By Smithsonian National Museum of American History 

America’s worst accident at a civilian nuclear power plant occurred on March 28, 1979. Unbeknown to anyone, half the fuel melted in one of two nuclear reactors on Three Mile Island near Harrisburg, Pa. 

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Three Mile Island, where a meltdown forever changed nuclear energy in America, shut down Friday 
By Ledyard King, USA Today  

Even 40 years later, John Garver vividly remembers the metallic taste of the nation’s worst commercial nuclear disaster. An acrid odor permeated Harrisburg as he walked out of a restaurant in Pennsylvania’s capital city the morning of March 28, 1979. 

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