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Animals Died at Three Mile Island

Dr. Robert Weber fits the Norman Rockwell image of a country veterinarian. Of gentle countenance but powerfully built, Weber wore his western-style hat and handlebar mustache into the lavishly paneled hearing room of the Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission, where, in March of 1980, public testimony was being heard on the accident at TMI.

Though the intricacies of debate over curies, millirems, and isotopes meant little to Weber, he had a pretty clear idea of what was happening to the animals of his clients. And when the PUC finally held hearings, just shy of a year after the accident, Weber came straight to the point. Ever since the accident, he said, he was getting calls to treat stillbirths among pigs near TMI at the rate of two per week. Normally he treated two such cases per year. He had been practicing out of Mechanicsburg since the 1940s and had never seen an epidemic like it. Hormones that usually aided the pigs in dilation had failed to work.

And that spring of 1980 he was having to do two caesarean sections per week on local goats and sheep, also an extraordinary rate.

Weber was immediately challenged by a lawyer from Metropolitan Edison, who demanded to know if Weber was saying that radiation from TMI had caused the problem.

"I am not prepared to say it is radiation," the veterinarian replied. "I do not know what the cause is."

But outside in the hall Weber told us that if ever animals had served as radiation monitors in a nuclear accident, this was the time. "A lot of these problems are happening right in the path of TMI," he said. "I won't say for sure it's the power plant that's causing it. But I can't imagine what else is going on down there." In fact the "heavy run" of birthing problems among pigs came "right after the plant went bad. I don't know if we were in some kind of streak. The samples haven't come up with any particular diseases that might be causing it.

Weber also told us he had seen plenty of cases to support the affidavits Jane Lee had accumulated. "Since 1976 I've been noticing cows that have gone down after they had their calves and couldn't walk. They didn't have typical milk fever, but we don't know what they did have. They were just down and we had to get rid of at least two of them. Everything I used just wouldn't work." He added that things had gotten significantly worse after the accident, including an increase in Hodgkin's disease among dogs, and widespread complaints that deer, pheasant, and other game had all but disappeared from the area.[1]

Charles Conley confirmed that pattern. "My daddy bought this farm in 1912," he told The (Baltimore) News-American. "I've had more trouble in two years than he had in all the years he farmed."[2]

Conley noted that soon after the accident the bark peeled off a maple tree in his front yard. "My wheat crop was not good that year," he complained. "The fruit's been small and some of the vegetables just plain curled up. Birds disappeared too. After the accident, there wouldn't be any of them swarming around behind the plows like they always do. We used to have all kinds here. Used to be you'd have twenty-five robins out there in the backyard. This year [1980] I've only seen one. I found a bunch of starlings that just flew into the hay mow and died. And my brother, he found a robin that just keeled over in a peach basket. That thing killed the snakes, too. We don't have any copperheads around here, but the garter and black snakes, you used to see a lot of them. Now you don't."[3]

At Jane Lee's house the number of complaints from farmers reporting animal problems increased dramatically after the accident. Down the road at Emma Whitehall's--which in 1978 had reported 290 duck eggs that would not hatch--a nanny goat inexplicably aborted twins eight days after the accident. Located less than three miles from TMI, the farm soon thereafter saw two other pregnant nannies die mysteriously, along with twenty-six newborn rabbits and nineteen guinea pigs.

At the nearby James Fitzgerald farm, a colt was born deformed. At the Mary Ann Fisher place, across the river in Middletown, a litter of kittens inexplicably died. At Fran Cain's dog kennel, a quarter mile from the reactor, a poodle was born with no eyes.[4]

One after another the complaints of sterility; stillbirths; malformations; disease; unexplained deaths; disappearance of game, snakes, and wild insects; and wilting of vegetation arrived in increasing numbers in the wake of the accident.

1. Robert Weber, interview, March 1980.

2. Hammel, "Second Accident."

3. Charles Conley, interview, March 1980.

4. Jane Lee, interview, March 1980.

Pennsylvania's Official Findings

In mid-May the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (DOA) decided to conduct a study of its own. The department's information director, John Nikoloff, told us that the survey was done in two days--May 23 and 24--and that it involved ten department staff, two of whom were veterinarians. Nikoloff said that one hundred person-hours were devoted to interviewing one hundred farmers. According to the survey only five of them complained of abnormal problems.

Nikoloff emphasized that the study, which was untitled, was informal and "for internal use only." It was not sophisticated or thorough, but rather a "spot check" that was done by compiling a rough list of the dairy farms within five miles of the plant and arranging for interviewers to stop off--unannounced--at other farms along the way "if they had time."

Nikoloff added that the department had done a few autopsies, but not as many as they would have liked. "In a way we're stuck," he said, "because most of the animals that get reported with problems are dead and gone before we can autopsy them." The dozen-odd animals the state had tested had shown no evidence of radiation damage. Thus on the basis of that and the small number of complaints Nikoloff and the DOA had concluded that there was "no evidence that would indicate any animal problems in the area that had anything to do with radiation from TMI."[5]

In April of 1980, more than a year after the accident, The New York Times editorial board relied on the DOA survey in a strongly worded opinion piece called "Nuclear Fabulists," which dealt largely with the growing controversy over human infant-mortality rates near TMI. The "reports of bizarre deformities among farm animals and wildlife" had been discredited, they wrote. The problems "were attributed to viral infections or to feed and poor nutrition; there was no evidence of radiation damage."[6]

But three months after the editorial appeared, an investigative team from The (Baltimore) News-American reported that the DOA study was "worthless." The concerns of local farmers had been "vastly underreported." The state's "data erred. Their conclusions were wrong."

In a four-page feature written primarily by investigative reporter Laura T. Hammel, The News-American charged that not 5 percent, but at least 40 percent of the farmers listed in the DOA survey complained of problems with plants and animals that dated not just after the accident, but to the opening of TMI-1.

Dairy farmer Joseph Conley (a cousin to Charles, whom we interviewed earlier) told The News-American that beginning in 1974, the leaves on his grape arbor turned white, limbs on his walnut trees shriveled and died, and, in late 1978, just before the opening of TMI-2, his cattle became jumpy.

Shortly after the 1979 accident two of his cows aborted, ten of his calves died soon after birth, his cats wouldn't breed, and his own family began acting so sickly and sluggish that he packed up all his belongings and moved to another county. But the DOA listed him as having "no problems."

Richard Bailey, who raised cattle at York Haven, thirteen miles from TMI, was also listed as having no problems. But he told The News-American that within two months after the accident he lost six new calves in a row. A seventh was born a midget. Prior to the accident he had lost only ten calves to stillbirths in more than thirty years of farming.

Russell Whisler of Manchester, who was also listed in the DOA survey as having no problems, said he had lost two ewes and four lambs from abnormal pregnancies following the accident--and that the state knew it. "They asked us what we had, and we told them," he said.

Jane Ressler of Elizabethtown, who complained of four horses suffering stiff, swollen joints just after the accident, was also listed as having no problems. She told The News-American, "We've had lots of problems. I never talked to anyone from the government, and neither did my husband. But I would have liked to."[7]

According to reporter Hammel, at least thirty-five farmers listed in the survey said their views had been misrepresented. At least three said they told state inspectors they were having problems and were listed as having none. And a number of animal inventories in the survey were grossly inaccurate.

Several nearby farmers who had severe problems were never contacted at all. One was Robert Ziegler of Newberry Township, directly across the river from TMI. Two days after the accident Ziegler's hogs refused to leave their pen and his chickens began flying wildly around their coop. By mid-May twenty-seven chickens and eleven hogs were dead of inexplicable causes. At harvesttime his corn was mushy and half-formed, his oat crop was half its normal yield, and the bark had peeled off a twenty-three-year-old walnut tree. Yet Ziegler was not in the survey, while some farms eighty miles away were.[8]

The reason for that, explained secretary of agriculture, Penrose Hallowell, was to provide a "spot check" to see if "there was a difference between the farms farther away and those close in." Hallowell also said some of the faraway spreads were included because the department "wanted to hit the biggest dairy farms in the area, and they were generally outside the five-mile limit."[9]

Yet the survey did include eleven families who were not farmers at all, and it listed as having "no problems" the fifty-eight-acre Manchester spread of Barbara and Homer Meyers, who said they had "no contact" with state surveyors.[10]

Nikoloff explained that the survey did include some animal owners who were not farmers. And that some farmers who were being surveyed may not have known it, because the work was being done by inspectors who also routinely test milk, feed, and fertilizer in the area.

As for the large numbers of farmers who complained about additional problems, Nikoloff told us he suspected that many of them might have come to mind in the year between the state's survey and The News-American investigation.

So we asked him why the DOA had not done a follow-up. "We requested no funding for further study," he replied. "The radiation experts advised us there was no need to do it based on the amount of radiation in the air. They told us we'd be wasting the taxpayers' time and money."[11]

Among the farmers themselves there was disbelief and anger. "We aren't going to get any answers," concluded Vance Fisher, a sixty-year-old Etters cattle farmer whose livestock had been dying. "Anyone who works for the state is afraid to say anything against TMI."

"I have trouble believing anything they say," added Pat Baum, a dairy farmer from Elizabethtown. "They didn't know what they were doing when it all began, and I don't think they know what they're doing now."[12]

"By the time we came around," News-American reporter Hammel told us, "the hostility was so bad that I had to prove I was not from the state before the farmers would talk to us."

Once they did, Hammel said she encountered "a lot of people who didn't know each other who were telling us startlingly similar stories."[13]

5. John Nikoloff, interview, March 1981; and Hammel, "Second Accident."

6. New York Times, "Nuclear Fabulists," April 18, 1980. The editorial read in full: "Those scare stories about radiation damage from the accident at Three Mile Island look increasingly far-fetched. Federal officials have said all along that little radiation escaped, posing virtually no threat to public health. Their judgment has been supported by all major investigations of the accident. But rumors of frightening physical damage to human and animal infants persist. "None of these allegations have held up under careful scrutiny by disinterested authorities. The only real health damage detected so far has been psychological. For example a report made public yesterday says that many of the community's residents remained distressed for months and resorted to sedatives and alcohol for relief. Their anxiety could only have been heightened by the `experts' and critics who have issued alarming statements about radiation hazards based on scant or distorted data. "The most worrisome charge has been that radiation from the crippled reactor has already caused an increase in infant mortality and thyroid defects in newborn babies. Those fears were effectively laid to rest by state and Federal health investigators, as reported in The Times by Jane Brody. The concern about infant mortality was based largely on raw statistics showing an increase in the number of infant deaths within a ten-mile radius of the reactor after the accident. But those numbers in themselves are meaningless; there was also an increase in the total number of births. The rate of infant deaths remained normal. "Similarly, the concern over thyroid disease was based on unevaluated statistics showing, in three counties, a possibly abnormal number of children born with thyroid defects. But on investigation, most of these cases were attributed to hereditary defects or other circumstances predating the nuclear accident. Four counties equally close to the reactor, or closer, had no such cases at all. "Reports of bizarre deformities among farm animals and wildlife have also circulated. Worried farmers and at least one veterinarian have described animals born with legs or eyes missing, stillbirths, spontaneous abortions, defective bone structures and sudden deaths. Many blame the reactor. But the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture investigated 100 farms within five miles of the reactor last May and found only five with any unusual problems among livestock. These were attributed to viral infections or to feed and poor nutrition; there was no evidence of radiation damage. "Several long-term studies are still under way. But for now the public can draw considerable reassurance from these negative findings. It is not only apologists for the nuclear industry who say that radiation damage has been negligible; so do health officials whose main concern is the public's safety, and agriculture officials whose mission is protecting farmers and livestock. "What is not at all reassuring is the behavior of `experts' who have inflamed fears by dealing recklessly with statistics. Dr. Gordon MacLeod, who was Pennsylvania's Secretary of Health at the time of the accident but was later forced to resign by the governor, irresponsibly publicized some of the raw data suggesting the existence of health problems. And Dr. Ernest Sternglass, a perennial campaigner against nuclear power, is accused by neutral health authorities of mishandling data to demonstrate health damage. Even in nuclear fables there are people who cry wolf."

7. Hammel, "Second Accident."

8. Ibid.

9. Ibid.

10. Ibid.

11. Nikoloff interview.

12. Hammel, "Second Accident."

13. Laura T. Hammel, interview, January 1981.

The NRC Steps In

By the summer of 1980 stories about Dr. Weber, Jane Lee, Charles Conley, and other area farmers had begun to seep into the media.[14] It was precisely the kind of publicity the industry could least stand. The reactors were operating at roughly 65 percent of full capacity; originally the industry had promised 80 percent. And with just seventy plants on line, atomic power was producing a net of just 9 percent of the U.S. electricity supply, and less than 2 percent of all U.S. energy. After thirty-five years of research and development, $40 billion in taxpayer subsidies, and more than $100 billion in utility investments, commercial reactors were providing American consumers with less usable energy than firewood.[15]

In the wake of TMI came a federal moratorium on licensing. With no new orders coming in, construction costs soaring, electricity demand on the downswing, and the waste question still unresolved, the economic underpinnings of the peaceful atom seemed shakier than ever.

And now the political pillars were crumbling as well. On May 6, just five weeks after the TMI accident, more than 100,000 nuclear opponents gathered at the national capital in Washington to protest the radioactive dangers highlighted by the mishap. On September 23 more than 200,000 gathered in lower Manhattan for an antinuclear rally and concert that was the biggest American political gathering of the 1970s. Wherever atomic reactors were operating or being built, local citizens were working against them.

But nuclear power was not being abandoned. Those still in the industry had billions of dollars invested. First and foremost, it seemed necessary to dispel the idea that TMI had caused anyone any harm. And that meant the animal question. Just as Nevada sheep had become the first visible victims of the 1950s bomb tests, so the goats, pigs, cows, and cats of central Pennsylvania seemed destined to play the role at the dawn of the 1980s.

And like the AEC before it, the state of Pennsylvania stood firm. "There's not a shred of evidence that there's been a radiation-connected problem," Governor Richard Thornburgh said of the farmers' complaints. "If you could tell me of a single instance of a radiation-connected problem, then we'd want to take a look."[16]

But resistance at the state level to pursue the question further than the limited DOA study remained firm. "There was not enough radiation to give any evidence of any need to do such a study," said Robert Furrer, a management analyst for the DOA. "To do more study would have been chasing a ghost," added Nunzio Palladino, dean of Pennsylvania State College of Engineering. "I wouldn't put a nickel toward more study."[17] In 1981 Palladino became chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Despite such opinions the NRC teamed up with the EPA to study the animals around Three Mile Island in the spring of 1980. Headed by the NRC's Germain LaRoche, the task force set about contacting those farmers who had complained of problems with their animals. By the fall of 1980 their investigation was complete and their conclusions firm--"no reasonable connection" could be made between radiation from TMI and damage to any nearby animals.

Among other things, the report said symptoms in cat and kitten deaths and reproductive problems "suggest infectious diseases." Problems in sheep, goats, and cows "suggest a nutritional deficiency." The tendency of local cows to fall down also seemed to be a dietary problem. Hatching problems with duck and goose eggs "could have come about because of fluctuation in incubator temperatures where incubators were used."

Overall the report concluded that "while many of the symptoms reported are characteristic of radiation sickness," many were also "diagnosed as common occurrences in domestic and wild animals." As a whole "no relationship can be established between the operation of TMI or the accidental releases of radioactivity and the reported health effects."[18]

Published in October of 1980, the study immediately became national news. The New York Times accepted it as definitive proof that the farmers' claims were without basis. In November the Times printed an editorial entitled "Goat Stories from Three Mile Island," which stated with confidence that the "findings are clear. None of the plant or animal defects can be attributed either to the accident or to normal nuclear operations at Three Mile Island. Many of the animal defects, in fact, were traced to the carelessness of the protesting farmers." Unequivocally revealing the paper's point of view, the editorial said reproductive problems in one goat had been solved with "a new buck." Horses that failed to breed had "a chronic infection." Calves that "could not stand or walk without staggering" suffered "nutritional deficiencies." Damage to plants and trees was "traced to disease and insects, not radiation."

Thus, said the Times, "the horror stories evaporate." The TMI accident was "highly dramatic and frightening," but it "caused no defects in Pennsylvania's woods and barnyards."[19] The Times's editorial was reproduced and distributed by nuclear-committed utilities around the country. It was taken by many as a final word that the farmers near TMI were simply off base.

But apparently neither the Times's editorial board nor much of the major media had read the NRC/EPA report carefully. Its authors had warned in their introduction that the survey "should in no way be thought of as an epidemiological study." There were, they said, numerous cases "that could not be investigated in depth because not enough data were available." There was also a "lack of background information" on many diseases in the area.

According to Germain LaRoche, whom we contacted by telephone in early 1981, the authors of the report "did not survey animals. We surveyed people and reports from the lab. We got a list of problems from the state and contacted as many of the farmers as we could."

In other words the Pennsylvania DOA's sketchy 1979 survey, which had been labeled "worthless" by The (Baltimore) News-American, had served as the basis for the "definitive" federal study of animal problems around the nation's biggest reactor accident. And in fact the NRC had contacted even fewer farmers--a year later--than had the state. "We did not go to all those people," LaRoche told us. "But we did go to quite a few."

Nor was there any improvement in actual testing of livestock. "We did not see any animals," LaRoche explained. "We did not do any autopsies. This [study] was done over a year after the accident. By the time we did our survey, all those animals had died or had been disposed of."[20]

In fact the final NRC/EPA report listed fewer than thirty-five cases involving animal problems near TMI. In more than half of them the investigators conceded that there were insufficient data to draw any conclusions about radiation poisoning one way or the other. Under the category of farm animal reproductive problems, for example, the report listed fourteen different cases. In ten of them the researchers acknowledged having either no data, insufficient data, or "cause unknown."[21]

As for the reports of Dr. Robert Weber that stillbirths and malformations among area pigs were epidemic, there was no survey or interview. The authors simply noted that "episodes of farm animals requiring caesarean delivery of young were reported after the accident." A repeat of "this specific problem was not evident in 1980; however, an increase of stillbirths in pigs was reported during the spring of 1980." There was no systematic poll of local veterinarians, no tabulated survey of area pig farmers.

"Similar problems in goats and sheep were also reported," said the authors. "But increases in the number of stillbirths in these animals were not observed. Again, these problems do not appear to be recurring events. Sterility and lower reproductive rates, especially in ducks and goats, have been reported but not confirmed."[22]

The study went on to note that an "oral report by a private citizen" had indicated a poodle was born in an unspecified location "without one eye socket." In fact the dog--as John Nikoloff of the state DOA later confirmed--was born with two eye sockets but no eyeballs at Fran Cain's kennel near the plant. Its case had been widely reported in the media, but the NRC never visited the kennel. Instead it concluded that the problem "was probably a developmental malformation, cause unknown."[23] In a cross section of nine other cases the findings were similarly inconclusive. In half of the remaining cases shipping fever, foot rot, nutritional deficiencies, virus, and several other diseases were mentioned. "Insufficient data" and "no diagnosis" accounted for the majority.

As for the widely reported disappearance of wildlife, the report blamed pesticides and the weather. There was no mention of independent studies showing high radiation levels in local rabbits, meadow voles, and milk.

To support one of the most crucial official health contentions in American history, the NRC and EPA had cited less than two dozen year-old autopsies and performed none on its own; presented no systematic survey of area hunters, farmers, gardeners, veterinarians, doctors, breeders, or fishermen; and made no substantial contributions to the very brief two-day survey done a year before by the state. "I was disappointed in the NRC's report," said Pennsylvania's John Nikoloff. "I felt with their resources they could have done a better job."[24]

Still the commission was prepared to promise that "concerned citizens may be assured that in keeping with its mission to safeguard the public health and safety, the staff of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission will continue to investigate reports of unusual problems experienced with plants and animals, and any pertinent findings will be made available."[25]

Had the NRC investigated more thoroughly, it might have found some important evidence. In early 1981, two years after the accident, Dr. Robert Weber, the Mechanicsburg vet, told us the plague of birthing problems among pigs, goats, and sheep had come to an end. "Since the plant's been shut," he said, "there are no down cows or animals with hypertension or mental conditions over there. There's been a decline in everything that we had a lot of last year. I hardly get a call to go over there any more."[26]

"Since they shut the place down," added Charles Conley, "why, things have been much better. Had a good crop, and some of the birds are back."[27] Conley was one of many local farmers to claim a noticeable improvement in the health of his animals in the wake of the TMI shutdown. He also told us the mysterious white powder that had been plaguing his rainwater had not reappeared since the plant shutdown.

In fact the NRC/EPA investigators spent a good deal of time tracing tales of the powder. But with TMI shut, none was to be found. "We asked all over for farmers to bring us in a sample of that white powder," said Germain LaRoche. "The only thing we got was some stuff from a woman that turned out to be mildew."[28]

On a broader scale a survey of "fresh water cooling towers throughout the country has not shown any evidence of white powder," said the report. But somehow they missed a white residue reported by residents as close as Shippingport, reports that were nationally syndicated by Jack Anderson in 1977. Statements of strange residues coming from the sky near Vermont Yankee also went uninvestigated.

Nor, apparently, did the government give much credence to a broad cross section of experienced, deeply rooted, conservative Pennsylvania farmers who were--like sheepherders downwind from the Nevada Test Site, like Herschel Bennett in Arkansas, like Nancy Weber in upstate New York, like Lloyd Mixon at Rocky Flats, like Mildred Zywna at Vermont Yankee, like Emil Zimmerman at West Valley, like Clarence Ransome near Canon City--simply unable to find any other possible explanation for the unprecedented plague of diseases among their animals except nearby sources of human-made atomic radiation.

14. The Progressive, June 1980; Village Voice, March 1980; Pacific News Service, March 25, 1980; Valley Advocate, March 26, 1980; Pawlick, "Silent Toll"; New York Times, March 27, 1980. There were also numerous radio reports dealing with the animal problems around TMI.

15. For information on rising capital costs of atomic reactors versus coal-fired plants, see Komonoff, Power Plant Cost Escalation. For a table of falling reactor orders, see the Atomic Industrial Forum, The Nuclear Industry in 1980: A Rocky Road to Recovery (Washington, D.C.: Atomic Industrial Forum), January 19, 1981. The release, full of optimism for "some good years," was characterized as "whistling past the graveyard" by Anthony Parisi, in "Hard Times for Nuclear Power," New York Times Magazine, April 12, 1981. According to the AIF, in 1980 there were sixteen reactors canceled in the U.S. against no new orders. There were sixty-nine postponements. The comparison of nuclear energy output to firewood comes from Tim Glidden, project manager of the Resource Policy Center, Dartmouth College. In a June 1981 interview Glidden said he calculated the 1980 usable energy output of U.S. nuclear power plants at 0.868 quads; that of wood was 1.351 quads. The nuclear figure did not account for energy consumed in the enrichment of uranium for reactor use, which could lower it by 25 percent, or for energy used in attempting to deal with nuclear waste.

16. Hammel, "Second Accident."

17. Ibid.

18. G. E. Gears, et al., Investigations of Report Plant and Animal Health Effects in the Three Mile Island Area NRC and EPA, NUREG-0738 and EPA 600/4-80-049 (Washington,D.C.: NRC and EPA, October l980), p.31 (hereafter cited as NRC/EPA Animal Study).

19. New York Times, "Goat Stories from Three Mile Island," November 23, 1980. The editorial read in full: "Remember those frightening stories about deformed animals and dead vegetation around the nuclear plant at Three Mile Island? Not just the anti-nuclear crowd spread the tales of unusual animal deaths, stillbirths, broken bones, missing eyes--even a glowing fish. Reports came from farmers, housewives and a veterinarian who had long practiced in the area. Here was the evidence, some said, that the radiation from nuclear power plants, including even normal releases, can cause devastating biological injury. "Well, the results of a thorough investigation of plant and animal defects are now in. The inquiry was run by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission with the help of two agencies that are highly sensitive to biological harm--the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, looking out for farmers and livestock, and the Federal Environmental Protection Agency, which safeguards the public. "The findings are clear. None of the plant or animal defects can be attributed either to the accident or to normal nuclear operations at Three Mile Island. Many of the animal defects, in fact, were traced to the carelessness of the protesting farmers. "Calves that could not stand, or walk without staggering, turned out to be suffering nutritional deficiences; when fed mineral and vitamin supplements, their problems disappeared. Goats that failed to produce offspring were found to be victims of genetic infertility; when a new buck was tried, reproduction soared. Horses that failed to breed were found to have a chronic infection. A group of 500 parakeets, canaries and other birds succumbed to toxic fumes or an overheated aviary; they showed no signs of radiation injury. A decline in the sightings of toads was hardly peculiar to Three Mile Island; it had been recorded all over the East, and for two decades, and may be attributable to pesticides. Suspicious damage to plants and trees was traced to disease and insects, not radiation. A few cases of animal anemia were nowhere near the radioactive plume. "So the horror stories evaporate. That is not unusual. People often blame a highly dramatic and frightening event for unrelated difficulties. The wise citizen withholds judgment until hysteria subsides and dispassionate investigators assemble the facts. Three Mile Island taught a lot about the defects of nuclear plants, but it caused no defects in Pennsylvania's woods and barnyards."

20. Germain LaRoche, interview, February 1981.

21. NRC/EPA Animal Study, pp. 19-26.

22. Ibid., pp. 19-20.

23. Ibid., p. 8; and Nikoloff interview.

24. Nikoloff, interview, March 1981.

25. NRC/EPA Animal Study, p. 1.

26. Weber, interview, February 1981.

27. Conley, interview, October 1980.

28. LaRoche interview.

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