Democracy in the Shadows: Citizen Mobilization in the Wake of the Accident at Three Mile Island

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This book covers in depth the widespread and prolonged political struggle surrounding the Three Mile Island nuclear accident of 1979. Walsh documents the dynamics of the conflict between local communities and national nuclear elites in the wake of the worst nuclear power disaster to occur in the United States to date. How citizens living in the shadows of the Three Mile Island cooling towers have made their voices heard--particularly in their efforts to prevent the restart of Unit 1--is thoroughly analyzed. Extensive fieldwork over a period of six years, systematic survey data from activists and sympathizers, interviews with industry defenders, and reports of the accident reflecting both sides of the issues all were used to create this important book. In a preface that discusses Three Mile Island within the context of the Chernobyl nuclear accident in the U.S.S.R., Walsh provides a thoughtful perspective on the complex relationships between democracy, technology, and social movements. A historical overview of the nuclear power industry provides a framework for the analysis. Walsh addresses the accident and evacuation, early community mobilization, the formation of coalitions, targets of protest, the final court appeals, life in the shadows, and theoretical implications. Democracy in the Shadows is indispensable for students of sociology and political science, as well as community activists and others with significant interest in nuclear power issues.