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Saturday 28 March, 2009 marks the 30th anniversary of the nuclear crisis on the Susquehanna River’s Three Mile Island.  The accident was caused supposedly by faulty equipment and bad decisions made during the initial crisis, or, as the Nuclear Regulatory Commission stated, “a combination of personnel error, design deficiencies, and component failures.”

The core of the plant melted down partially, according to investigations and cleanup efforts.  The Three Mile Island plant stood dangerously close to total meltdown, which could have resulted in a full-scale national disaster. The event led to an overhaul of nuclear power plant safety rules and halted industry development – for 28 years, no new nuclear plants were ordered.

Though many scientists state that most of the radioactive release was contained inside the plant and resulted in no long-term health effects or environmental damage, many others highlight the Three Mile Island disaster as a clear indication of the dangers caused by nuclear power generation.  A peer-reviewed study found that rates for leukemia and lung cancer were two to 10 times higher downwind of TMI than upwind, showing also that there was chromosomal damage to plants and animals in the area.[1] Also, there were reports or a spike in infant mortality in the communities downwind two years after the accident. [2] Concerns over uranium extraction and the process’ effects on the environment continue to worry a growing movement of advocates for nuclear power plant decommissioning nationwide.

Global Justice Ecology Project joins with many other organizations on this 30th Anniversary of the disaster of Three Mile Island in calling for the decommissioning of nuclear power plants, most specifically for the closing of the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant in GJEP’s home state of Vermont.

Nuclear power is a false and dangerous solution to climate change. [3]

Additionally, 70% of the world’s uranium resources are located in the lands inhabited by Indigenous Peoples in Africa, Asia, Australia, and North and South America. These people are severely affected by the negative impact of mining activities but don’t get any benefit from it. [4]

[1] David Williamson (1997-02-24). “Study suggests Three Mile Island radiation may have injured people living near reactor.” UNC-CH News Services.
[2] David Teather (2004-04-13). “US nuclear industry powers back into life.” The Guardian.
[3] Rising Tide North America, 2009.  hoodwinked IN THE hothouse, False Solutions to Climate Change.
[4] Global Justice – Indigenous Peoples and Uranium Mining website http://www.wise-uranium.org/uip412.html (3 December 1997) in Motion No. U412 to the Swedish Parliament  1997/98 by Eva Goës et al. – Green Group in the Swedish Parliament.