Newspaper: The Patriot
Date: March 29, 1979
Title: Protest Filed Over Delaying Announcement
Author: Associated Press
YORK-The York County civil preparedness defense director said Wednesday he is “burned up” about the failure of officials at the Three Mile Island nuclear generating station to report a water pump malfunction immediately after it was discovered.
The pump is used to cool a station reactor.
Leslie Jackson, who is director of the York County Emergency Radio Network, said his office first was notified of the emergency at 7:27 a.m. Wednesday. The reactor broke down at 4 a.m., according to authorities.
“We are to be notified immediately of a malfunction and failure to notify me immediately is a violation of the regulations handed down by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources,” Jackson said.
He said he has lodged an official protest with the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency.
“I informed the state director, Col. Oran Henderson, of the displeasure of the York County Board of Commissioners and myself about the three-hour delay,” Jackson said. “It was inexcusable.”
The incident marks the second time in two years that an area plant failed to immediately notify York County civil defense officials of equipment malfunctions.
“A couple of years ago, the Peach Bottom Atomic Plant waited several hours to report a problem and the commissioners and myself were angry with the plant officials,” Jackson said.
The Peach Bottom plant is located along the Susquehanna River in Southern York County near the Maryland state line. There were no radiation leaks or injuries during the Peach Bottom incident.
York County civil defense officials and the county’s emergency radio network have an established plan to follow when an emergency occurs at either of the nuclear energy stations.
“Residents of the two areas are immediately notified of possible dangers and evacuation plans are set in motion,” Jackson said.
At 7:27 a.m. Wednesday, he said, the plan was put into operation.
“That plan should have been initiated shortly after the malfunction was discovered at 4 a.m., not three hours later,” Jackson said.