Federal Probe Sought in Handling of Three Mile Island Report
WASHINGTON (AP) _ Several residents of the area around Pennsylvania’s Three Mile Island nuclear plant Tuesday asked the Justice Department to investigate the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s handling of a report on a possible jump in the cancer rate in their region.
Joanne Musselman, a spokeswoman for the Concerned Citizens of Three Mile Island, said she delivered to the office of Attorney General William French Smith a complaint charging that pages were missing from the report when it was forwarded to the national Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta in August.
At least four affadavits providing evidence of alleged biological abnormalities showing up in the region - as well as various other pages of the report - were omitted when the document was forwarded to Dr. Glyn Caldwell, head of human health services at the Atlanta centers, Ms. Musselman said. She said this represented a deliberate ″coverup″ by the commission.
She said in a telephone interview, however, that Caldwell later received a full version of the report, compiled by two other residents of the region, Norman and Marjorie Aamodt of Coatsville, Pa., from state officials in Pennsylvania.
Frank Ingram, a spokesman for the commission, said the pages evidently were omitted because of a copying error by the clerical staff when the report was forwarded to Caldwell about Aug. 23..
″The bottom line is that Dr. Caldwell had the full report,″ Ingram said.
About 10 residents of the Three Mile Island area were on hand for a news conference in the Capitol Hill mansion of millionaire philanthropist Stewart Mott after the complaint was delivered to the Justice Department, Ms. Musselman said.
The group says there is evidence of an upsurge in cancer deaths resulting from the March 28, 1979, accident at Three Mile Island in which an emergency cooling system malfunctioned, causing the core to overheat and partially melt.
The group says that only now will any biological harm caused by the most serious accident in the history of the commercial nuclear power industry begin to appear.
″There have been 20 cancer deaths where there would have been three expected,″ Ms. Musselman said. She said other biological abnormalities are appearing, such as ″deformed leaves and multiple buds on stems.″