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William Scranton on: President Carter's Visit
William Scranton Q: So by Saturday night when the governor announces that President Carter will come tomorrow, were you feeling secure with the situation?

WS: Much more secure. There's kind of an interesting thing that happens when you've been through the worst and it's suddenly discounted and you feel like you're at the end of the test. The hydrogen bubble was, I think, the high point of anxiety and when that was dismissed, there was nothing. They still didn't know what had happened inside. There was never a time when a theory that had the credibility behind it that the hydrogen bubble had, reared its head again and it seemed like we were, if not out of the woods, at least we could see the light at the edge of the woods.

Q: How did you feel seeing Carter's entourage?

WS: Well, first of all, he flew into the Harrisburg airport. He helicoptered up, I believe, from Camp David. And he met with us, the governor, me, and a couple of other folks, Harold Denton, in a very small room, in one of the auxiliary buildings at the Harrisburg airport. And I was very impressed with the guy because he was a nuclear engineer and he asked very good questions. There was real substance about the guy, with regard to this crisis. He asked very good, tough questions and he got good, tough answers. We were very grateful for his coming. I was invited to go onto the island with him and with the governor. As you know, they also put on their protective gear and they were doing what I had done before. But having had my dose of radioactivity two days earlier, I begged off and said, you know, "I'll stay at the gate," which is where they left the press, at the gate on to the island. One of the small ironies of this was that after it was over, the governor put me in charge of the commission to access the economic and environmental consequences. One of the so called, "expert" opinions that we got was that there was never any really significant off-site dosage of radioactivity, but that the highest you could possibly get was if you were standing at the north gate of Three Mile Island, exactly where I was standing. And I just went, you know, you can't win on this one. But, you know, by that time, there was a better sense of confidence because when you meet a challenge and you overcome it, the confidence grows. And by that time, we were getting not cocky, but pretty confident.

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