The congressman whose district contains the Three Mile Island nuclear plant said today the people who live in sight of the plant want its damaged core removed and buried as far from the plant as possible.
"I have talked to 1,500 of my comstituents at five public meetings, and I don't believe people realize that psychological effect this accident has had on them," Rep. William F. Goodling (R-Pa.), told the president's commission investigating the March 28 Three Mile Island accident.
"They do not want the damaged core permanently stored on Three Mile Island. In fact, many are adamantly opposed to the reopening of Three Mile Island as a nuclear generating plant," he said.
Goodling was one of 45 witnessess living within five miles of Three Mile Island who were called today to vent their feelings about the accident that shut down the plant March 28. Besides Goodling and Rep. Robert S. Walker (R-Pa.) from nearby Lancaster, the mayors of Harrisburg and Middletown critcized everybody concerned with the accident.
"I'd like to place the blame on the local state [public utilities] commission, the Metropolitan Edison Co. and the federal government because they gave out the license to operate this plant," Middletown Mayor Robert Reid said. "The smallest butcher shop requires an inspector, and here we had a plant with a potential to kill millions and it didn't have an inspector."
Reid and Harrisburg Mayor Paul Doutrich said what still irritated them most about the accident was the way they left in the dark by Metropolitan Edison, which operates the plant at Three Mile Island.
"A met Ed spokeman called me and assured me that no radiation had escaped on the morning of the accident," Reid said. "Twenty seconds later, I got in my car and an announcer was telling me on my car radio that radiation had escaped. Later on, the spokeman called and said he wanted to update me. Are you telling me that radiation did escape? I asked him. And he said yes. I said I heard that on my car radio hours ago."
Doutrich said he heard about the accident when a reporter from a Boston radio station called him and asked, "What are you doing about the nuclear emergency?" "Doutrich said his reply was, "What nuclear emergency?"
"I've been called by a German television station, by Australia, by Japan and mayor of Austin, Tex.," Doutrich said. "But to this moment, I have not received a call from Met Ed."
Witness after witness told the commission of the psychological shock they suffered in the days after the accident. Many spoke of their fear of radiation, which one witness described as "an insult you can't taste, feel or see."
"I'm afraid," said Angela Herrider, who was close to tears the entire time she testified. "I just want to be sure my little girls will grow up to have lttle girls of their own."
Amos (Bill) Peffer told the commission that the day of the accident he drove his wife to Ploughkeepsie, N. Y., where he has relatives. He said his wife grew more fearful of the accident in the ensuing days until she colapsed from traumatic shock on April 2.
"She's better now," Peffer said in a voice that cracked from strain. "She only wakes up in a cold sweat two nights a week."
Jacqueline Reigle said she's still in a state of shock from the accident. "I've experienced two floods, a tornado and two car accidents, but I can't come to terms with Three Mile Island. I invite each one of them to live at my house and you'll see how ominous it feels to look out at those cooling towers," she said.
Goodling drew applause from many of the people attending the hearing in a gymnasium on the capital campus of Penn State University when he complained about the way radioactivity was allowed to escape from the plant without any warning to nearby residents.
"Most of my constituents cannot understand how their children could have been permitted to be exposed during those early hours while waiting for school buses or while on the playground," Goodling said. "They believe it is sheer negligence to have permitted this to happen when an earlier notification would have kept them indoors."00:1501:Copyright (c) , The Washington Post20:May 20, 1979, Sunday, Final Edition30:Sports; D1160:Campionship-Round Facts and Figures