Challenging Official Risk Assessments via Protest Mobilization: The TMI Case

  • Edward J. Walsh
Part of the Technology, Risk, and Society book series (RISKGOSO, volume 3)


Prior to the Three Mile Island (TMI) accident, the handful of local opponents at the licensing hearings for the Unit 1 and Unit 2 reactors in the early 1970s were not permitted to raise questions about citizen evacuation in the event of a serious accident because such an event was defined by mainstream risk assessors and hearing officials as virtually impossible. The partial meltdown of Unit 2 in 1979, however, undermined the credibility of the organizations responsible for such probability estimates while also serving as a major catalyst in transforming a previously docile and trusting local population into antinuclear activists. This paper provides a brief analytic summary of the tandem development of protest groups and risk disputes in the wake of the most serious nuclear accident in U.S. history.


Social Movement American Sociological Review Resource Mobilization Citizen Group Nuclear Regulatory Commission 
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Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Edward J. Walsh

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