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Prayers for Japan at US nuclear accident commemoration

The disaster at Three Mile Island on this day in 1979 “taught plant operators many valuable lessons”.

Three Mile Island continues to generate electric power with its Unit 1 reactor. Unit 2 reactor was the scene of the 1979 meltdown.
Three Mile Island continues to generate electric power with its Unit 1 reactor. Unit 2 reactor was the scene of the 1979 meltdown.
Image: PA Images/Bradley C Bower

THE 32ND ANNIVERSARY of the partial meltdown at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania is being marked at the plant with prayers for Japan.

WGAL-TV reports about 30 people gathered early Monday outside the nuclear plant near Harrisburg for a vigil to remember the worst commercial nuclear power plant accident in US history.

An equipment failure and operator errors led to partial core meltdown at the plant’s Unit 2 reactor around 4am on 28 March, 1979.

Those gathered outside the plant offered their prayers for tsunami-devastated Japan, especially people forced from their homes by the crisis at the Fukushima Dai-ichi (foo-koo-SHEE’-mah dy-EE’-chee) nuclear complex.

Three Mile Island spokesman Ralph DeSantis says the Unit 2 disaster has taught plant operators many valuable lessons.

The Three Mile Island website from local Dickinson College has a detailed timeline of the 1979 accident and fallout here.

CBS news anchor Walter Cronkite’s broadcast on 30 March, 1979 gives a good sense of the fear of meltdown that preoccupied America in the immediate aftermath of Three Mile Island:

- Additional reporting AP

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