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Three Mile Island Cover-Up.

The NRC continues to deny the magnitude of radioactive releases from the Three Mile Island Accident (1979) and consequent health effects. NRC staff and industry expert witness documents show that it was infinitely more dangerous than has been made public. NRC's denial of what actually happened is not simply an insult to those harmed by the accident but is dangerous looking forward. It is used by the NRC and industry, for example, to justify less robust containments in newly proposed reactor designs and to justify collapsing or perhaps eliminating emergency planning zones.


Three Mile Island Alert’s 30th Anniversary of TMI’s Accident, April 2009

How much was really released; health consequences in the community; witness testimonials and much more at


Accident Dose Assessments –Three Myths of the Three Mile Island Accident,

Arnold Gundersen is a nuclear engineer with over 30 years of experience and was an expert witness at the 1994 trial. His presentation at the 30th anniversary in 2009 answered three questions. Please view the video on TMIA's website.


1.      Should an evacuation been ordered early on day one?  Yes if the industry had followed federal procedures.

2.      Did the containment leak? Yes, based on industry witness court testimony.

3.      How much radiation was released? Answer depends on who gives it; NRC, the agency responsible for public safety, provides the smallest estimates.

A.    NRC website says 10,000,000 curies.

B.     NRC Staff expert (Lake Barrett, NUREG-0637, Appendix C) says that

      36,062,000 curies were released from 3/28 thru 4/5.

C.    The industry witness, John Daniel (1994 trial) estimated 17,000,000 curies.

D.    Another industry witness, Dr. S. Reytblatt, structural engineer Univ. Bridgeport, (1994 trial) estimated that there were 10 billion curies in the containment and 10% escaped, or approximately (1) billion curies.

Health Consequences, Dr. Steven Wing

Dr. Steven Wing is an Epidemiologist, Univ. North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Dr. Wings' research reported that there were reports of erythema, hair loss, vomiting and pet death near TMI at the time of the accident. His research demonstrated that accident doses were positively associated with cancer incidence. Associations were largest for leukemia,intermediate for lung cancer, and smallest for all cancers combined. Please view the video on TMIA's website.

Study Suggests Three Mile Island Radiation 
May Have Injured People Living Near Reactor

CHAPEL HILL -- Exposure to high doses of radiation shortly after the nuclear accident at Three Mile Island may have increased cancer among Pennsylvanians downwind of the plant, scientists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill say. 

Dr. Steven Wing, associate professor of epidemiology at the UNC-CH School of Public Health, led a study of cancer cases within 10 miles of the facility from 1975 to 1985. He and colleagues conclude that following the March 28, 1979 accident, lung cancer and leukemia rates were two to 10 times higher downwind of the Three Mile Island (TMI) reactor than upwind. 

A paper Wing and colleagues wrote appears in the January issue of the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, scheduled to appear Feb. 24. They first presented their findings last July at the University of Portsmouth in Portsmouth, United Kingdom, at the International Workshop on Radiation Exposures by Nuclear Facilities. 

"I would be the first to say that our study doesn't prove by itself that there were high-level radiation exposures, but it is part of a body of evidence that is consistent with high exposures," Wing said. "The cancer findings, along with studies of animals, plants and chromosomal damage in Three Mile Island area residents, all point to much higher radiation levels than were previously reported. If you say that there was no high radiation, then you are left with higher cancer rates downwind of the plume that are otherwise unexplainable." 

Co-authors of the report are Dr. Douglas Crawford-Brown, professor of environmental sciences and engineering, and Dr. Donna Armstrong and David Richardson, former and current doctoral students in epidemiology, all at UNC-CH. 

The new study involved re-analyzing data from a 1990 report that concluded the nation's worst civilian nuclear accident was not responsible for slightly increased cancer rates near the plant because radiation exposures were too low. Wing and colleagues re-examined data from that report using what they believed were better analytic and statistical techniques. 

"Several hundred people at the time of the accident reported nausea, vomiting, hair loss and skin rashes, and a number said their pets died or had symptoms of radiation exposure," he said. "We figured that if that were possible, we ought to look at it again. After adjusting for pre-accident cancer incidence, we found a striking increase in cancers downwind from Three Mile Island." 

The scientists do not believe smoking and social and economic factors were responsible for the increased cancers found in the downwind sectors. 

Many earlier researchers, as well as government and industry officials, accept as fact that only small amounts of radiation were released into the atmosphere, Wing said. But it is known that plant radiation monitors went off scale when the accident started. Plumes containing higher radiation could have passed undetected, he said. 

Findings from the re-analysis of cancer incidence around TMI is consistent with the theory that radiation from the accident increased cancer in areas that were in the path of radioactive plumes, the scientist said. 

"This cancer increase would not be expected to occur over a short time in the general population unless doses were far higher than estimated by industry and government authorities," Wing said. "Our findings support the allegation that the people who reported rashes, hair loss, vomiting and pet deaths after the accident were exposed to high level radiation and not only suffering from emotional stress." 

The UNC-CH scientist said he found it ironic that U.S. District Court Judge Sylvia Rambo dismissed more than 2,000 damage claims filed against the power plant by nearby residents last year citing a "paucity of proof" to support their cases. 

"Judge Rambo spent a year or more throwing out scientific evidence presented by the plaintiffs," he said.

"After she threw out the evidence that people had been injured by the accident, including part of our work, then she ruled that there wasn't enough to proceed with the case." 

He also noted that the court gave attorneys for the nuclear industry the right to review the earlier health effects research before it was made public. "I think our findings show there ought to be a more serious investigation of what happened after the Three Mile Island accident," Wing said. Limitations of the new study, like the earlier work, include the continuing difficulty of determining precise wind direction for several days following the accident. 

Three Mile Island Witness Testimonials


The three testimonials at this link are from “Three Mile Island: The People’s Testament,” (1989), a series of interviews with approximately 250 Three Mile Island (TMI) area residents from 1979 to 1988 done by Katagiri Mitsuru, Professor of Social Psychology at Kyoto Seika University and Aileen M. Smith, free-lance journalist and co-author of the book Minamata.


Admiral Rickover – Testimony from his daughter-in-law

The following statement was signed by Jane Rickover, daughter-in-law of Admiral Hyman Rickover, "father" of the nuclear navy. It was notorized by William Lamson July 18, 1986. Jane Rickover has verified the authenticity of the document and the events described in it.

"In May, 1983, my father-in-law, Admiral Hyman G. Rickover, told me that at the time of the Three Mile Island nuclear reactor accident, a full report was commissioned by President Jimmy Carter. He [my father-in-law] said that the report, if published in its entirety, would have destroyed the civilian nuclear power industry because the accident at Three Mile Island was infinitely more dangerous than was ever made public. He told me that he had used his enormous personal influence with President Carter to persuade him to publish the report only in a highly "diluted" form. The President himself had originally wished the full report to be made public.

In November, 1985, my father-in-law told me that he had come to deeply regret his action in persuading President Carter to suppress the most alarming aspects of that report.

[Signed] Jane Rickover








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