March 28, 1979, exactly 39 years ago today, Pennsylvania’s Three Mile Island came close to a meltdown when a nuclear plant located on the island malfunctioned.
Variously described as the worst accident in the history of the U.S. nuclear power industry, the incident began when a pressure valve in the Unit-2 reactor at Three Mile Island failed to close. Cooling water, contaminated with radiation, drained from the open valve into adjoining buildings, and the core began to dangerously overheat.
Operators resorting to what they considered a quick fix, turned off the cooling pumps causing uranium filled tubes to cracked with radioactive gas sipping into the atmosphere.
As to be expected, the terrifying incident feed public fears over nuclear power hence protests broke out in Pennsylvania with residents taking to the streets to call for the shut down of the nuclear plant.