Newspaper: The Patriot
Date: March 29, 1979
Title: Goldsboro: Tranquility and Anger
Author: Roger Quigley, Staff Writer
GOLDSBORO-Wednesday’s radiation leak and lack of warning brought angry reactions from many residents and officials of this area of York County, where the massive cooling towers of the Three Mile Island Nuclear generating station dominate the landscape.
But many others dismissed the whole incident as a minor mishap, saying it’s been blown out of proportion.
“I’m more worried,” said one, “about chuckholes.”
Bruce I. Smith Jr., chairman of the Newberry Twp. Board of Supervisors, called for the development of new, more comprehensive evacuation plans and lambasted Metropolitan Edison Co. for what he said was exposing residents to the “grim reality of a nuclear accident.”
Marvin Brothers, who is both a Newberry supervisor and Goldsboro’s fire chief, said he was unhappy over the four-hour delay in alerting emergency officials but not greatly distressed.
Hazardous materials on trains which pass through the borough “have me more scared than that place,” said Brothers.
In this river town, where low levels of radiation were found Wednesday morning, most residents were concerned that their first notice didn’t come until hours after the accident and then only though commercial radio stations.
BUT THE division in opinions on the severity of the accident and its effect on them was evident.
“I’m more worried about chuckholes, the condition of the railroad tracks over there and those jets that fly over town than I am about that,” said Bud King from the steps of his King’s Arms tavern as he pointed to the four mammoth cooling towers looming on the horizon between two rows of houses.
“I feel 100 percent sure about that,” he said again pointing in the direction of the nuclear plant.
“If it had been worse,” said Ann Hartman, of the time it took to make people aware of the accident, “they could have roped off the whole town and forgotten it.”
“That big thing over there never bothers me, but some people in town are scared to death over it,” said the 26-year old Goldsboro resident. “We’re pretty lucky this time; maybe we won’t be the next time.”
Newberry’s Smith, saying “it’s time for Metropolitan Edison to make more than promises” about the safety of its plant, called the company’s current evacuation plan for the township “ridiculous.” Smith said he would press for a “more comprehensive evacuation plan for this type of accident.”
HE SAID THE “only emergency procedure we have received was a one-page flyer (on evacuation procedures) that was distributed with tax notices.
“What happens after all 8500 township residents congregate at Red Land High School (the designated evacuation site for the township)?”
Goldsboro’s mayor, Kenneth E. Myers said he “wasn’t notified of the accident and I don’t know how many other municipal officials were. I think they should have notified the officials in the immediate area.”
Myers said this isn’t the “first time that it’s happened, though. Before there have been leaks and (in some cases) it was more than a week until we found out about them.”
Fairview Twp. Officials say they never were notified of the accident or the radiation leak, apparently because they’re just beyond the 10-mile notification radius Three Mile Island officials observe when there’s a problem at the facility.
“I would say definitely that we should be notified,” said township Fire Chief Kenneth Rodgers.
William R. Collins, township police chief, said although he wasn’t notified he understands “York County Control is supposed to have some kind of plan” for dealing with incidents at Three Mile Island.