Q: What is MedEd saying about the accident?|
RT: Obviously, the first priority that I had with the ultimate power of
decision over some very important questions in the wake of this accident -- the
first priority of mine was to get all the facts. I had been trained as an
engineer and as a prosecutor and, I had respect for the facts and knew that
decision-makers, whether they're little league baseball coaches or governors of
our fifth largest state, were gonna make decisions, the quality of which was
ultimately dependent upon the quality of the facts that they had at hand. So
our initial effort was to try to gather facts. The first source, obviously,
was the utility, Metropolitan Edison, that ran the nuclear plant.
Q: So what did MedEd say at the press conference?
RT: Well, the thrust of their press conference characterization was really to
kind of down play the accident. They said that everything was under control.
It wasn't. They said that all of the response mechanisms at the plant had
worked properly. They hadn't, but generally, the impression was left that
there really wasn't much room for concern. MetEd and omitted some very vital
information -- that there had been an uncontrolled release of radiation from
the plant. And so, while we had no reason to suspect at the time that there
was anything missing in their characterization of it, we still set about to go
to look to other sources to try to verify and check out. We had some very
skilled people, nuclear technicians, on our staff and I set them to kind of
checking and double-checking precisely what was forthcoming.
Q: What did you learn than was different that what MedEd was saying?
RT: Well, the first thing that eroded our willingness to accept the utility's
characterization of the event was learning that this uncontrolled release of
radiation had taken place. That was a very substantial bit of information that
they had neglected to share with the public at their press conference on the
morning of the accident. They said they hadn't been asked about it, but it
seemed to us that it was incumbent upon them to come forward with that. And
so, the lieutenant governor, who was in charge of emergency management and who
I had delegated initially the supervision of the fact-gathering process, had
held a press conference early in the morning to try to allay any of the worst
fears that might result from this accident. But, we then arrange for him to
hold a second press conference to the effect that there's a lot more to this
than meets the eye.
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