Three Mile Island: A Nuclear Crisis in Historical Perspective

Three Mile Island: A Nuclear Crisis in Historical Perspective

ISBN13: 9780520239401
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Twenty-five years ago, Hollywood released The China Syndrome , featuring Jane Fonda and Michael Douglas as a TVnews crew who witness what appears to be a serious accident at a nuclear power plant. In a spectacular coincidence, on March 28, 1979, less than two weeks after the movie came out, the worst accident in the history of commercial nuclear power in the United States occurred at Three Mile Island. For five days, the citizens of central Pennsylvania and the entire world, amid growing alarm, followed the efforts of authorities to prevent the crippled plant from spewing dangerous quantities of radiation into the environment. This book is the first comprehensive account of the causes, context, and consequences of the Three Mile Island crisis. In gripping prose, J. Samuel Walker captures the high human drama surrounding the accident, sets it in the context of the heated debate over nuclear power in the seventies, and analyzes the social, technical, and political issues it raised. His superb account of those frightening and confusing days will clear up misconceptions held to this day about Three Mile Island. The heart of Walker's suspenseful narrative is a moment-by-moment account of the accident itself, in which he brings to life the players who dealt with the emergency: the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the state of Pennsylvania, the White House, and a cast of scientists and reporters. He also looks at the aftermath of the accident on the surrounding area, including studies of its long-term health effects on the population, providing a fascinating window onto the politics of nuclear power and an authoritative account of a critical event in recent American history.

Type Book
Number Of Pages 315
Item Height 26 mm
Item Width 164 mm
Item Weight 597 Gram
Product Dimensions 164 x 26 x 235
Publisher University of California Press
Format Hardcover | 315

Walker has produced a superb and balanced account, one of the few that attempts to set both the accident and the efforts to understand and cope with it into a broader historical and regulatory context. - Gene I. Rochlin, Science (aaas) [A] day-by-day breakdown of the accident and the reaction from politicians, media and the public, all told with simplicity and a harsh poignancy. - Simon Garfield, Financial Times Reminiscent in its capacity to grip the imagination of the accounts of the Cuban missile crisis. - Frank Gray, World Energy Review

J. Samuel Walker is the historian of the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission. His previous books include Permissible Dose: A History of Radiation Protection in the Twentieth Century (California, 2000) and Containing the Atom: Nuclear Regulation in a Changing Environment, 1963-1971 (California, 1992).