Galen Winsor makes a startling statement in the above video; he claims that the Three Mile Island event was no accident. He states that the “GE Three” of Gregory C. Minor, Richard B. Hubbard, and Dale G. Bridenbaugh wrote the script for both The China Syndrome and for Three Mile Island. He also claims that there was a written prediction that the event would happen available a year before it actually occurred.
Winsor’s statements would sound incredibly far-fetched without the following additional thoughts:
- The historical record proves that the likelihood of reactor accidents is very low. The likelihood of a reactor accident happening at the same time there is a movie with a similar scenario playing in its first run in the theaters is absurdly low.
- There is a line in The China Syndrome about “contaminating an area the size of Pennsylvania”. Coincidentally, that is the state that is the home of the Three Mile Island nuclear power station.
- Isolation valves for the backup feed pump were found shut, preventing the backup pump from supplying water to the steam generator.
- Even if the backup feed pump had not been isolated, the power operated relief valve would have lifted. However, the steam generator would not have boiled dry and the confusion in the control room might have been reduced enough to halt the accident progression.
Despite numerous detailed investigations, the official reports of the accident still attribute that highly unusual condition to a “maintenance error”. If that is true, why didn’t the operators know that the valves were shut? Even in the pre-TMI era, plant operators were required to maintain status logs and to be aware of maintenance taking place in their plant. http://www.iaea.org/ns/tutorials/regcontrol/assess/assess3233.htm
IMHO – it is at least remotely possible that Winsor is correct.
Others have noticed the highly unlikely coincidences over the years, but the normal reaction is dismissal, often in a tone like the one used in Agitprop for Fun and Profit.
So you want to make a left-wing propaganda movie? Then let’s see what we can learn from the most successful propaganda movie in history, to judge by actual political results, The China Syndrome. It was released in 1979, after more than a decade of steady building of nuclear power plants. Since then not a single new permit for a nuclear plant has been issued in the United States.
Correlation is not causation, and to be fair, The China Syndrome benefited from the best timing any movie has probably ever had. Three Mile Island, the worst industrial accident in history with zero casualties, followed the release of The China Syndrome by twelve days. One of the characters even muses about “contaminating an area the size of Pennsylvania.” You just can’t buy that kind of publicity.
(Emphasis in the original.)