DIRECTORGazit, Chana
TITLEMeltdown at Three Mile Island
RUNNING TIME60 minutes
Web Access
Available online from Public Broadcasting Service

This documentary film portrays the accident at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant on March 28, 1979 and its aftermath. Due to both faulty equipment and human error, the reactor core began to overheat. With both local officials and officials at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) not sure exactly what had happened, a tense week followed with public officials wavering on whether to evacuate the surrounding area. Finally, President Jimmy Carter visited the plant to help calm people’s fears that the plant could explode at any moment. That concern was eventually proven false, although the core had melted down by about 50 percent. The film contains interviews with local residents, the governor and lieutenant-governor of Pennsylvania, and officials at the NRC. It focuses more on reactions and worries at the time than what, as was determined later, actually happened in the reactor. A companion website has some interesting features including a simple description of how a nuclear power plant works and a step-by-step explanation of what happened.

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