Memories of the 1979 Three Mile Island accident haunt many of the 8,700 residents who fled from the town as the risks for Japan’s nuclear power plant meltdown dominated the headlines in United States.
Judy Stare, 70, is one of the residents who remember the accident 32 years ago. Back then, her children were adolescents attending high school in a town nearby.
She told her children they might never go back and asked them to bring one of their favorite things before they evacuated from the melting core of the Three Mile Island nuclear reactor.
In the nation’s history, Three Mile Island is the most serious nuclear accident. The first accident occurred March 28 when an electrical or mechanical failure occurred on the turbine part of the nuclear building. This led to one of the reactors in the Three Mile Island to shut down.
A valve on the reactors opened to alleviate the build up of pressure. It was supposed to close, but remained open when the pressure decreased. Coolant had already leaked out, which went unnoticed by power plant operators.
The overheated uranium fuel rods started to melt. When the operators noticed that the coolant had leaked, almost half of the power plant reactor had already melted. The crisis in the region lasted for four days. Component failures, personal error and design deficiencies- all had been to blame for the accident.
On Tuesday, President Obama said he was sincerely concerned about the potential public risks of Japan’s quake-hit nuclear reactors. However, he promised to further develop and improve the safety of several atomic facilities in United States.