Three Mile Island +10

NPR’s Morning Edition


President Jimmy Carter leaves Three Miles Island on 1 April 1979

'Sam? A couple of radiation levels: 200R per hour... inside containment.'
'Holy Jesus! Oh J... They got a release inside. 200R per hour?'

This piece aired on the tenth anniversary of the worst civilian nuclear accident in the United States. Three Mile Island continues to play a role in the lives of the people who live near the plant.

In 1979, Cokie Roberts was a general assignment reporter for a fledgling radio network called NPR and was sent to Pennsylvania to cover the accident. Ten year later, she was its Congressional Correspondent. I was fortunate to be able to return to Pennsylvania with her as her producer. I learned, among other things, that she always travels with a bottle of Tabasco in her purse.

It also taught me about the power of archival tape in telling stories on the radio. And that librarians are the best friends reporters have.