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NoME Part Three: Chapter 6: Session 846, April 4, 1979 2/33 (6%) Jonestown cult fallout reactor Mile
– The Individual and the Nature of Mass Events
– Part Three: People Who Are Frightened of Themselves
– Chapter 6: Controlled Environments, and Positive and Negative Mass Behavior. Religious and Scientific Cults, and Private Paranoias
– Session 846, April 4, 1979 9:30 P.M. Wednesday

(It’s over! The crisis at Three Mile Island has passed — or so the governor of Pennsylvania announced on television this morning. That is, the threat of an “immediate catastrophe” from a meltdown in the plant’s Unit No. 2 nuclear reactor has evidently passed; engineers have dissipated the hydrogen bubble in the reactor’s core, but the core temperature is still considerably above normal, and children and pregnant women are still advised to stay out of the area.

(The challenges — and fears — created at Three Mile Island will last for years, however. Jane and I read that it will take up to four years and many millions of dollars to decontaminate, overhaul, and place the crippled reactor back in operation; the cost is given in incalculable estimates ranging from $40 million to $400 million. Some government officials say that the reactor may never see service again, that it may end up junked, or as a sealed mausoleum, a mute symbol of our nuclear age. [Nor do we know what fate awaits the plant’s undamaged Unit No. 1.] A current fear is that if and when cleanup operations are begun, the small and supposedly harmless amounts of radiation still seeping into the atmosphere may intensify. There’s much debate already about the “cancer deaths” that may show up in the local populace, since no one really knows yet just what a “safe” dose of radiation could be in such a situation. And above all, our energy experts maintain that the United States has traveled too far along the nuclear path to turn back now.

[... 30 paragraphs ...]

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