by Larry Smith
Thirty years ago a mechanical failure at a nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania released radioactive gases into the atmosphere, forcing the evacuation of 140,000 people from the surrounding area. It was a significant turning point in the development of nuclear power.
As Canadian commentator Jeff Rubin recently pointed out, “The real legacy of Three Mile Island wasn’t what happened back in 1979, but rather what happened - or more precisely didn’t happen - over the course of the next 30 years in the US."
He was referring to the fact that the near-meltdown of the Three Mile Island reactor changed public acceptance of nuclear power plants, and none has been built in the US since. Could the catastrophic explosion at the BP drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico have the same effect on the oil industry today?