The reactor at Three Mile Island was a so-called light water reactor of a relatively early design. The capacity was 852 MW.
More about the accident can be seen here.
As a natural thing the reactor was protected by reactor containment.
Such a reactor containment, which usually is an about 2 meters thick reinforced concrete shell, is the last defense against the release of radioactive waste.

Here it proved to stand up to the test:
People within a radius of 15 km from the reactor were exposed to an average dose of 8 millirem (0.08 mSv).
Highest measured dose was 100 millirem (1 mSv).
This should be seen in the context of the natural background radiation, which we are all exposed to, is about 200 millirem (2-3 mSv) per year.

Such a core meltdown can under no circumstances evolve into just something towards a “nuclear explosion”.
It will require both highly enriched uranium and a very special “initiator”.
Yet it was not long before half of the American population had been convinced that such a threat was imminent.
A small crowd of journalists who perhaps had waited for some horror stories.
They had to go home disappointed.
As so often both Greenpeace and the lawyers were buissy.

Radioactive contamination

It is estimated that US coal burning in 1982 released 150 times as much uncontrolled radioactivity to the atmosphere as the Three Mile Island incident.

Evacuations and claims

There were some panicky evacuations and many claims for compensation.
Most, if not solely, for loss of income as a result of the unnecessary evacuations.
The private, but compulsory, Price Anderson Act’s savings, covered as far as it can be seen all these costs.
These costs came to $ 70 million, of which 41% were “legal expenses”.
To put this amount in perspective I will mention that the US nuclear power plants annually pay $ 375 million to this private insurance-fund.

It may be worth mentioning that it was the first and the only time where a nuclear accident resulted in this form of payment.
When the savings accumulated in the Prince-Anderson “money tank” (0,01 US-cent/kWh) reached astronomic proportions, further payments has been suspenderet.

The cleanup was expensive

On this link it is stated that the cleanup lasted 11 years and cost about
USD 1 billion.
This long time: 11 years is probably explained by a desire to wait until the worst radioactivity had subsided.

The real damage

As seen below, the hysteria developed into a disaster.
A disaster that has made its marks even to this day:
– Expensive and unstable energy
– Loss of position in technical capacity
– And looming climate disaster

How ?

A very detailed assessment is provided by Alternative Energy / Nuclear Power.
Here you find data related to the large fluctuations between 1975 and 1985
These are reactors that were under construction at the same time as the hysteria after the accident.
I quote:
Some countries like the United States, Canada, Japan and W Germany responded to the Three Mile Island accident by introducing regulations that pushed costs through the roof, while France, S Korea and India did not.

Klik on the little gry square for details about France and USA.

At the same place you find the following:
From 1974 to 1975, orders fell sharply from 75 GW to 28 GW.
In addition, all 41 reactors ordered after 1973 were subsequently canceled and eventually more than two thirds of all nuclear power plants ordered after January 1970 were canceled.


zz Kina It is easy to see that the initiative has shifted to Korea, Russia and especial to China.

I ask why ?
and try to say HERE