Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS
Montage of images and link description. Meltdown at Three Mile Island Imagemap: linked to kids and home
The Film and More
Imagemap(text links below) of menu items
The American Experience
The Film & More

Reference


Interview Transcripts | Bibliography


Roger Mattson on: Day Four
Roger Mattson Q: Does your concern grow Saturday afternoon?

RM: The concern over the bubble basically didn't change from Saturday afternoon for the next 12 hours. Saturday, during the night, coming into Sunday morning, I've left the emergency center, maybe at two a.m. Sunday morning. They told me to go get some rest. I haven't slept in a couple days and Hindry and I are going to go to the site the following morning early by car. I leave a group of people in the emergency center continuing to look at the thermocouple data, continuing to try to understand everything we can from the reactor, what is its condition and how is it changing, and, of course, that includes the hydrogen bubble. They're continuing to get reports from across the country. There are actually experiments being conducted in Idaho on the hydrogen bubble. There are calculations being performed all over the country of, if it were to burn or if it were to explode, what would the load be on the reactor coolant system? Would the vessel break? Could we lose the whole thing? And there are people continuing to do calculations of the evolution of oxygen into the hydrogen bubble. These are people with knowledge in that area, who are trusted in that area. They certainly weren't me, because I don't have knowledge in that area. I couldn't do such a calculation to save my hide. I just wouldn't know what to do. Those calculations continue through the night Saturday and Sunday morning. When I come back then Sunday morning to meet with Hindry and the other commissioners to prepare to go to the site, the consensus is that we've reached about a five percent oxygen concentration in the hydrogen bubble. Well, in about 12 hours we're gonna completely change our mind. We're gonna decide that there's no oxygen in the hydrogen bubble. And so the proper question is, how can you reverse your opinion so quickly? And, of course, the Presidential commission wanted to know that. A lot of people wanted to know. And it's a basic misunderstanding of the conditions that were there.

back to Interview Transcripts | next


Program Description | Enhanced Transcript | Reference

THE FILM & MORE | SPECIAL FEATURE | TIMELINE | MAPS
PEOPLE & EVENTS | TEACHER'S GUIDE