The Warning: Accident at Three Mile Island

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W. W. Norton & Company, 2003 - Nuclear power plants - 294 pages
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By 6:00 a.m. on the morning of March 28, 1979, the reactor core at Three Mile Island was thirty minutes away from a meltdown, an apocalypse that would render a huge swath of eastern Pennsylvania permanently uninhabitable. The control room crew, overwhelmed by flashing alarms and klaxon horns, is at a loss. The memo that would have warned them was never sent.

Originally published in 1982, this factual, riveting thriller was the first account of the accident based on exclusive interviews with key operating personnel. Mike Gray, author of The China Syndrome, and Ira Rosen, former producer for CBS's 60 Minutes, have updated this jackhammer narrative of mechanical failure and human error with an analysis of the current threats to our nuclear power plants.

Today the nuclear option is again on the table. Before we head down that road, it's important to understand what went wrong that fateful morning when the future of Harrisburg hung by a thread.


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User Review  - ABVR - LibraryThing

A lot of technological disasters are have relatively simple cause-and-effect chains. The 1979 partial meltdown of Reactor #2 at the Three Mile Island nuclear powerplant isn't one of them. It's no ... Read full review

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2010-2011 Environmental Science Student:
The Warning by Mike Gray and Ira Rosen is the intriguing account of what truly happened at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania. Although it is nonfiction book
, it reads much like a novel with simplistic and colloquial terms so it is easy to digest and understand. Gray and Rosen further help the reader understand nuclear power plants with diagrams and a glossary. The authors provide information from the period before and after the incident as well; which provides background to the reader and makes the story come full circle at the end. Because the book is written using first hand accounts in a novelistic fashion Gray and Rosen are able to take a confusing topic and turn it into a suspenseful story. It makes you consider the alternate forms of energy to fossil fuel. The Warning mostly focuses on the possible ramifications of nuclear power, but throughout the story different experts, engineers and researchers are introduced; which in turn, shows how much work is put into ensuring such catastrophes are few and far between. I would recommend this book to anyone with questions about or an interest in the incident at Three Mile Island. It would be unfair of me to lie and say I never wanted to put it down, but it was most definitely an enjoyable and rewarding read.
2009-2010 Environmental Science Student:
This is a book that explains the scientific reason behind the near-meltdown in Pennsylvania. Without a degree in nuclear engineering, it is hard for most to easily understand the scientific language used in the book. Even though I had no prior knowledge of what a reactor is or where the power relief valve is located, diagrams and a glossary help to involve even the most nuclear clueless reader. Apart from the scientific vocabulary, the novel is a rather easy read, with simple language and an evolving in plot. Through interviews with operating personnel who were present throughout the entire event at Three Mile Island, authors Mike Gray and Ira Rosen were able to take a complex, confusing topic and turn it into a riveting thriller that keeps the page turning.
The book served as a real eye-opener for me. Nuclear energy is not something that crosses my mind often, if at all. I had heard vaguely of the meltdown at Chernobyl that occurred in 1979 but The Warning: The Accident at Three Mile Island kept more of my attention since it occurred less than 150 miles from us. Reading about the near-meltdown made me want to learn more about the actual meltdown that happened at Chernobyl and the effects of it. Through my research, I found that if a meltdown that was half as powerful as the one at Chernobyl had occurred in 1979, our area would be uninhabitable because of the effects of radiation. The journalist skills of Mike Gray and Ira Rosen take a complex, scientific topic into a suspenseful thriller that kept my attention while learning something about the world around me.

Selected pages


Section 1
Section 2
Section 3
Section 4
Section 5
Section 6
Section 7
Section 8
Section 12
Section 13
Section 14
Section 15
Section 16
Section 17
Section 18
Section 19

Section 9
Section 10
Section 11
Section 20
Section 21

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About the author (2003)

Mike Gray (1935--2013) was an engineer, screenwriter, and author. He was the co-founder of The Film Group, a Chicago-based production company.

He is the photographer/owner of Stadium Views. He lives in Mahwah, New Jersey.

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