happened at 4am. A pressure valve in the Unit-2 reactor at Three Mile Island failed
to close. Cooling
water, contaminated with radiation, drained from the open valve into adjoining
buildings, and the core began to dangerously overheat.
cooling pumps then went into operation but human interference, caused by misleading
control room gauges, led to the cooling mechanism being manually shut down. Residual
heat was still being released and the core heated to 4,000 degrees, 1,000 degrees
below, or within about one hour, of complete meltdown (which could lead to a dangerous
radiation cloud drifting across the countryside potentially killing many).
8am those on the outside had been let in on the unfolding crisis. By 8pm plant
operators started to move water over the core again and the temperature began
to drop. The core never broke through its protective shell...
days later, however, a bubble of highly flammable hydrogen gas was discovered
within the reactor building. It exploded and a small amount of radioactive material
went into the atmosphere.
crisis began again as it was uncertain if a larger explosion was about to occur.
The Governor ordered "pregnant women and preschool age children to leave
the area within a five-mile radius of the Three Mile Island facility until further
notice." There was panic. 100,000 people fled.
the event, no-one outside the plant was affected by the problems, although those
in the plant were exposed to unhealthy radiation doses.
Syndrome, starring Jane Fonda, was released around the time of this
accident. The movie follows a group of journalists who discover a covered up nuclear