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Kingston Coal Ash Spill
Three Mile Island Meltdown
Dauphin County, Pa.
March 28, 1979
The Three Mile Island meltdown is considered the most significant accident in the history of American nuclear power. The incident occurred when there was a partial core meltdown in one of the units of Three Mile Island Nuclear Generating Station, which resulted in the release of radioactive material into the atmosphere.
Clean up of the damaged system took 12 years and cost around $973 million. Plant surfaces had to be decontaminated and water stored during the clean up had to be processed. The clean up initiative was carried out by around 1,000 workers.
The longterm impact:
For 18 years, the Pennsylvania Department of Health maintained a registry of more than 30,000 people who lived within five miles of the accident. According to the registry, "no unusual health trends." occurred as a result of the meltdown.
Further, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission found that "in spite of serious damage to the reactor, most of the radiation was contained and that the actual release had negligible effects on the physical health of individuals or the environment."
Despite few longterm health impacts from the incident, public confidence and support of nuclear energy declined in the wake of the Three Mile Island incident. A new federal loan guarantee could catalyze the building of the first new plant since the meltdown, in Georgia.
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Upper Big Branch mine disaster
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