Three-Mile Island Anniversary

By: Nichole Vrsansky
By: Nichole Vrsansky

It was the worst nuclear power plant accident in U.S. history. Many of you probably remember it: Three-Mile Island. Sunday is the 25th anniversary of the near catastrophe.

Three-Mile island was a wake-up call. Equipment malfunctions and training errors led to mass evacuations and a near meltdown. Nuclear power operations haven't been the same since:

"The entire approach to safety, to training, to equipment reliability and oversight all significantly changed," says Stephen Kuczynski, vice president of the Byron nuclear site.

The Byron Nuclear Plant was under construction at the time of the accident. Workers made adjustments and improvements as a result. To this day, operators undergo drills and training to deal with similar situations.

"We do annual drills that are graded. We do weekly drills and get together with emergency teams to assure every piece of that program is healthy," says Kuczynski.

But most people who live near the plant say it's not the operator or equipment error they worry about.

"I'm more afraid of something happening to it - like a bomb going off – and it would affect the entire area," says Andrea Varble.

Since September 11th the plant has focused on that issue. While Kuczynski can't give specifics inside the plant, neighbors say security patrols around it are routine.

"I believe it's pretty safe. They do a good job," says Harvey McCoy, who lives behind the plant.

With emergency response plans in place, Kuczynski says they're much better prepared to deal with a nuclear accident today.


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