Vikings sack Paris, the Hollywood Walk of Fame gets its first star, President Eisenhower dies, and Three Mile Island melts down, all on this day.
1979: Operators of Three Mile Island's Unit 2 nuclear reactor outside of Harrisburg, Pa., fail to recognize that a relief valve in the primary coolant system has stuck open following an unexpected shutdown. As a result, enough coolant drains out of the system to allow the core to overheat and partially melt down, resulting in the release of small amounts of radioactive gases and iodine into the environment. It was the worst accident in U.S. commercial nuclear power plant history.
National Archives and Records Administration
Warner Bros. Pictures
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