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Engineering Librarians Collaborate on Three Mile Island Book

:: Word just came by that TMI 25 Years Later: The Three Mile Island Nuclear Power Plant Accident and its Impact, by Bonnie Anne Osif, Anthony J. Baratta, & Thomas W. Conkling, has been published by Penn State University Press. From the publisher's web site:

Three Mile Island burst into the nation’s headlines twenty-five years ago, forever changing our view of nuclear power. The dramatic accident held the world’s attention for an unsettling week in March 1979 as engineers struggled to understand what had happened and to bring the damaged reactor to a safe condition. Much has been written since then about TMI, but it is not easy to find up-to-date information that is both reliable and accessible to the non-scientific reader. TMI offers a much needed “one-stop” resource for a new generation of citizens, students, and policy makers.

The legacy of Three Mile Island has been far reaching. The worst nuclear accident in U.S. history marked a turning point in our policies, our perceptions, and our national identity. Those involved in the nuclear industry today study the scenario carefully and review the decontamination and recovery process. Risk management and the ability to rationally and understandably convey risks to the general population are an integral part of implementation of new technologies. Political, environmental, and energy decisions have been made with TMI as a factor, and while studies reveal little environmental damage from the accident, long term studies of health effects continue. TMI presents a balanced and factual account of the accident, the cleanup effort, and the many facets of its legacy twenty-five years later.

The authors bring extensive research and writing experience to this book. After the accident and the cleanup, a significant collection of videotapes, photographs, and reports were donated to the University Libraries at Penn State University. Bonnie Osif and Thomas Conkling are engineering librarians at Penn State who maintain a database of these materials, which they have made available to the general public through an award-winning website. Anthony Baratta is a nuclear engineer who worked with the decontamination and recovery project at TMI and is an expert in nuclear accidents. The book features unique photographs of the cleanup and helpful appendixes that enable readers to further investigate various aspects of the story.

Of note is that Bonnie Osif and Thomas Conkling are both engineering librarians: Osif is the Engineering Reference and Instruction Librarian, and the Pennsylvania Transportation Institute Librarian at the Pennsylvania State University, and Conkling is Head of the Engineering Library at the Pennsylvania State University.

A short interview about the book, with co-author Anthony Baratta, is available for viewing here. The introduction to the book is also online.

Congratulations to Bonnie and Thomas on the publication of their new book!

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