Mar 27, 2009 | 9
It will be exactly 30 years tomorrow since the nation's worst commercial nuclear accident occurred on a three-mile (five kilometer) slip of land in the Susquehanna River in the shadow of Harrisburg, Pa. Until that day, few people had ever heard of Three Mile Island—now there are few who haven't.
Once a majestic symbol of nuclear power, the plant would become synonymous with its dangers after one of its two reactors—the newer one, known as Unit 2—nearly melted down on March 28, 1979, just months after it was fired up.
The plant was shuttered, and Pennsylvania Gov. Richard Thornburgh recommended that pregnant women and preschoolers within five miles (eight kilometers) of the plant evacuate; some nearby hospitals and nursing homes were also evacuated. Today steam billows from the chunky, twin cooling towers of TMI's only functioning unit; the crippled reactor, now a skeleton, never reopened.
Aug 27, 2008 | 1
For the second year in a row, the fabled Northwest Passage has opened in the Arctic—thanks to a sea-ice melt that has already shrunk the polar cap to the second smallest extent ever recorded. And with a few more weeks to go in the summer thaw season, 2008 could surpass 2007 as the smallest amount of sea ice on record, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC).
This year's record-breaking melt was, to some extent, set up by the 2007 season—also a record-breaker. More open ocean means more trapped heat in the water, which means that thinner ice forms during the long Arctic winter. Thinner ice melts more readily when temperatures rise. So, despite a relatively cool summer this year, the sea ice is just melting away.
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