40 years ago today... Mar 29, 2019 9:50:17 GMT
Post by Sheriff John Stone on Mar 29, 2019 9:50:17 GMT
Forty years ago today, March 29, 1979, I was attending college at the Penn State Capitol Campus in Middletown, Pennsylvania. Believe it or not, I was sitting in the campus library studying for a test. The Capitol Campus (since re-named the Harrisburg Campus) was mostly a commuter college, and I found that I could study and concentrate better there, as opposed to my bedroom at home, where inevitably a variety of albums would be playing (distracting me?) on my turntable.
After studying in the library for about an hour, a visibly upset librarian approached me and said, "I'm sorry, sir, but you have to evacuate the building." I said, "Excuse me?", and again she said that everybody must leave the library immediately. She gave no reason. So, I packed up my books and walked out the door, only to notice several other students running to their cars in the parking lot. What was going on? I got into my 1976 Ford Maverick, turned on the AM radio, and was greeted by a local news conference explaining that there was a possible nuclear meltdown at the Three Mile Island nuclear plant - a few hundred yards from my car! The towers were a stone's throw away from the campus. People were literally running to their cars, winding up their car windows (it was a warm March afternoon), and squealing their tires as they sped away.
All hell broke loose. There was 24 hour continuous news coverage. Then-President Jimmy Carter visited the plant a few days later and proclaimed it "safe". The college was closed for one week. I just remember listening to radio and TV coverage, and nuclear power "experts" were telling people to NOT go near the plant and to even evacuate the area. And here I was, driving daily to just that very site, not knowing what danger I was literally walking into.
Forty years later, numerous health studies have been conducted regarding any side effects from the near melt down. There have been some spikes in cancer-related statistics done on local residents, however, some other studies refute them. Who knows? Thankfully, I have been cancer free. I don't think about TMI a lot, mostly on anniversaries of the date.