The alarms that rang at the Three Mile Island nuclear plant in March 1979 sounded the death knell of the American nuclear power industry. Anti-nuclear activists used the incident to intimidate anyone who advocated nuclear energy as safe, clean and efficient.
It didn't matter that nobody was killed at Three Mile Island, or that the final fail-safe mechanisms worked as intended. And it probably won't matter that the first long-term independent report, released the other day in the American Journal of Epidemiology, shows no evidence of increased cancer for those exposed to the accident.
The report focused on leukemia and other cancers found in children, since those would be the types most likely to show up in the years immediately following a radiation emission. As for the radiation leak itself, the report's authors conclude that official estimates of its size were correct, contrary to the exaggerated claims of some anti-nuclear activists.
With America's energy future imperiled, we need more nuclear power, not less. But that will require putting the demonology of Three Mile Island behind us. This report should help in that worthy effort.