Netflix’s four-part docuseries titled ‘Meltdown: Three Mile Island’ provides an in-depth look at the scary accident that took place on Three Mile Island, which housed two nuclear reactors. In March 1979, a partial reactor meltdown led to an international incident and left the residents of Middletown, Pennsylvania, living in close proximity to the island, scared and confused. Paula Kinney, one of the many people who initially left Middletown, shared her experiences on the show. So, if you’re curious to find out more, here’s what we know.
Who is Paula Kinney?
When the incident occurred, Paula Kinney lived quite close to the nuclear plant, later remembering she could see the cooling towers from her kitchen window. But when Paula initially heard rumblings of a potential accident, it was a scary time. She added, “It was sheer terror when the news first got out. It was like, we were all going to die.” A few days later, Paula, a mother of three, left Middletown with her family.
About two days after the incident, then-Governor Dick Thornburgh recommended an evacuation of pregnant women and preschool children within an 8-kilometer radius of the nuclear plant. Paula was one of the 140,000 people who evacuated Middletown. She recalled a malfunctioning siren from a nearby city adding to the confusion. Paula said, “That was when all hell broke loose. People were running and screaming in the streets.”
Later on, the government and the local authorities came under fire for how the situation was handled. Paula, who also turned into an activist later on like her friend Joyce Corradi, was strictly against the undamaged reactor restarting years after the accident. In 1985, the Supreme Court chose not to block the restart. So, when Governor Thornburg announced to end the battle against Three Mile Island, many were disappointed, including Paula. She said, “What he’s done is gone through the motions and made himself look good. How the hell do you put TMI behind you when you have to live with it every day?”
Where is Paula Kinney Now?
While the reactor was ultimately closed down in 2019, Paula still wondered if the radiation released into the atmosphere had any long-term effects on the residents. Later on, her children had some health issues, like her older daughter having ovarian cysts when she was 13 and her younger daughter showing symptoms like menstrual irregularity. Paula also feared that her family was more susceptible to cancer after what happened.
From what we can tell, Paula still lives in Pennsylvania; she is the co-founder of Concerned Mothers and Women and often showed up at the plant to protest on every anniversary of the accident. In 2019, she said, “We’re real people out here, with families, grandchildren, husbands, wives, cousins, and friends. Please keep that in mind.”
Read More: Where is Joyce Corradi Now?