Women and Children First
Meltdown: Three Mile Island is a new four-part docu-series on Netflix, centering on a nuclear disaster that gripped the East Coast of America back in 1979. Specifically, the series dives into the events, controversies and issues surrounding the accident at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant in Pennyslvania.
For those unaware, the Three Mile Island accident was caused by a partial meltdown of the Unit 2 reactor. Beginning at 4am on March 28th 1979, this significant accident in nuclear power plant history exposed numerous failings along the way, opened the door for anti-nuclear safety concerns and showed a shocking amount of corporate greed and personal issues across the community that are still felt to this day.
The four episodes work well together to paint a comprehensive picture of what happened here, including plenty of interviews and eye-opening insight from insiders who recount everything that happened. There’s a rather balanced argument here too, with some of the later chapters bouncing interviews off one another simultaneously; those in favour of using nuclear energy and those vehemently against it following this accident.
Each of the episode clock in at around 40 minutes or so, allowing for a rather brisk and pacey run-time that’s certainly welcome given how long some of these documentaries have become recently. Those who were gripped by HBO’s Chernobyl series should find themselves equally engrossed here to, with the show capturing that same urgency as the power plant begins to fail.
Billed as the worst nuclear incident in U.S. history, what’s particularly scary here is how close Three Mile Island incident came to becoming a national disaster. Without giving away the whole story, cost-cutting “solutions” almost cause a catastrophic disaster – until one man steps up as a whistle-blower and stops them.
It’s a tale that’s both eerily surreal and concerning in equal measure. In our hyper-capitalistic world, we’ve seen recently that profits and power is far more important than the livelihood of people. Alas, Three Mile Island is a timely reminder of that – and a damn good docu-series at the same time.
Methodical, gripping and well-paced, Meltdown: Three Mile Island is another solid Netflix documentary and well worth a watch.
Verdict - 8/10