(Middletown, PA) – Question: What do you do with the land surrounding the site of the worst nuclear accident to ever occur in the United States?
Answer: Wait 35 years, hire a developer, and build a new, family-oriented neighborhood!
That’s exactly what is happening in Middletown, PA, the town hosting the Three Mile Island (TMI) nuclear facility. Thirty-five year ago, beginning at 4:00am, Three Mile Island Unit 2 (TMI-2) partially melted down. At the time, there was great concern regarding a possible containment breach. Had that happened, the world might have witnessed a disaster on par with Chernobyl or Fukushima Daiichi. Instead, there was no rupture, and only a minimal amount of radioactivity escaped into the nearby area – home to about 2 million people.
“You even saw President Carter come out and visit during the incident,” said a nuclear power industry expert, speaking on condition of anonymity. “He came out partly to calm a nervous public, to show them that there was nothing to fear and everything was safe.
“Of course, he did give the ‘Malaise Speech’ less than four months later, so maybe the health effects were worse than anyone let on.”
In spite of multiple radiological studies by multiple Federal agencies – including the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), and the Department of Energy (DOE) – rumors about over-abundant four-leaf clovers, two-headed cows, mutated salamanders, multicolored carrots, and other ill effects continued for years, frightening off anyone who might want to return to the area.
And now, Middletown has finally been given the OK by the NRC to go ahead with its redevelopment plans.
“We’ve been waiting for almost 30 years for this,” said a Middletown Chamber of Commerce official, speaking on condition of anonymity. “It’s time to get on with living, and we’re going to make newcomers to our area as welcome as possible.”
But first, local officials will have to convince wary Americans that the area is completely safe – and that it’s no problem living in the shadow of one dead and one operating nuclear reactor. TMI-2 won’t be officially decommissioned for decades, and TMI-2’s sister reactor, Three Mile Island Unit 1 (TMI-1), continues to operate today. In fact, its license to operate was recently extended to 2034.
To this end, Pennsylvania gave tracts of land surrounding the power plant to a developer so a new neighborhood, TMI Estates, could be planned and built.
“Today, we’re happy to announce that TMI Estates is open for business!” exclaimed a local elected official, speaking on condition of anonymity. “We felt that announcing we’re open on the 35th anniversary of the unfortunate incident was more than appropriate. After all, if we don’t redevelop, the terrorists win.”
The TMI-2 accident had absolutely nothing to do with terrorism.
TMI Estates features a group of high-rise residences – Shoreham Towers. The high-rises complement the multiple one-floor garden apartment abodes – Cesium Acres.
Among the amenities awaiting the residents of the new neighborhood:
- Golf course
- Unobstructed view of TMI cooling towers
- Convenient shopping
- Decontamination facility
- Fitness center
- Parks filled with four-leaf clovers
- Free lifetime supply of iodine tablets
“We were happy to give the OK,” said a NRC spokesman, speaking on condition of anonymity. “The area is perfectly safe. TMI-1 continues to hum along. We deemed the area safe 30 years ago along with EPA, HHS, and DOE. When you have multiple Federal agencies collaborating and agreeing, isn’t that trust enough?”