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TMI evacuation plan "flawed," according to federal report - abc27 WHTM

TMI evacuation plan "flawed," according to federal report

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MIDDLETOWN, Pa. (WHTM) -

Three Mile Island has detailed emergency plans for a ten mile radius around the plant. But a new federal report says officials should study awareness and response outside of that.

The TMI accident happened on March 28, 1979.

"The target population was 5,000 people living 5 miles from the plant. Actually, 144,000 people left from as far as 50 miles from the plant," said Eric Epstein, TMI watchdog group.

He said TMI officials need to learn from the past to prepare for the future.

But right now, there are only detailed evacuation plans for a 10-mile radius around the plant.

"There is no invisible lead curtain ten miles from a plant. And in some instances, you're in more danger further than the plant than closer depending on wind patterns," said Epstein.

He backs a federal report that wants to research awareness and emergency procedures within a 50-mile radius.

"Let's make sure they have a place to go to. Let's not assume that people that live 10 miles 1 inch from the plant are gonna stay there and be exposed to radiation. I think that's naïve," said Epstein.

But TMI officials said their current plan is more than good enough.

"That doesn't preclude protective actions outside of that ten mile zone :40 Emergency planners and first responders all the time take actions to protect the health and safety of the public," said TMI Communications Manager Ralph DeSantis.

DeSantis also said there is a full scale emergency exercise scheduled for Tuesday, which will demonstrate the effectiveness of TMI's current plan.

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