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Security and Emergency Services

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

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In this conference, organized by Penn State Harrisburg Homeland Security Programs, several Penn State units joined forces with external experts to address the historic Three Mile Island (TMI) accident and the complexity of catastrophic events, in the nuclear sector and beyond – and which lessons were learned, or missed. Penn State Harrisburg’s Schools of Public Affairs and Behavioral Sciences and Education partnered with the Hershey College of Medicine and Penn State World Campus to organize an event on the 35th anniversary of the crisis, centered on challenges for civil security and the ways complex catastrophic events have been and continue to be attended to by industry experts, scholars, activists, and the public. The conference included a total of 36 speakers from eight U.S. states and three countries, and attracted an audience of 111, as well as considerable regional, state, and national media attention. The conference covered global and cross-disciplinary perspectives. It addressed important questions about how TMI set a precedent for nuclear security and safety, how it informed research, and how the event provided a catalyst for social change. Conference participants engaged in analyses of the event and its ramifications from the point of view of different fields of expertise, their personal stories of how they experienced the TMI crisis of 1979, and the ways that policy has been shaped since the crisis to mitigate, prepare for, respond to, and recover from complex catastrophic events.


Penn State Harrisburg

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