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The Three Mile Island nuclear accident 40 years ago

Washington (AFP) - The 1979 accident at the Three Mile Island power plant, the worst in US history, claimed no lives but provoked an outcry over the country's nuclear electricity program.

Caused by mechanical, design and human errors, the partial meltdown registered a five on the International Nuclear Event Scale that peaks at seven, the rate given to the Chernobyl (1989) and Fukushima (2011) disasters.

Here is a rundown of what happened on March 28, 1979 at one of the two reactors at the Three Mile Island Generating Station in eastern Pennsylvania.

- Early morning alert -

An alert was declared at 4:00 am after a fairly minor malfunction in the water reactor's cooling system that was linked to a filter.   MORE

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