Three Mile Island — March 29 and 30, 1979

On March 29 and March 30, 1979 the second and third days of the Three Mile Island nuclear accident, the situation at the damaged Unit 2 reactor spiraled out of control.

As a new reporter covering the statehouse for Ottaway Newspapers, I adapted to changing circumstances in what became the worst commercial nuclear accident in U.S. history.

Thursday March 29 was the day of a chaotic press conference called by Metropolitan Edison officials, the operators of TMI; and five press briefings by state and federal officials. The media ranks swelled with out-of-town reporters specializing in nuclear power and energy issues.

At 10 a.m., Lt. Gov. William Scranton 3d, in his role as chairman of the state emergency management council, issued this statement: “The situation at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant remained stable overnight. Metropolitan Edison is still trying to bring the reactor to a cold shutdown. There are still small amounts of radiation ventilated from the reactor’s auxiliary building.”

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