TMI @ 35 Conference

This two-day conference that was extensively covered in the news re-examined the lessons learned from the historic Three Mile Island nuclear crisis of March 1979 -- and answered 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. We also examined the management of complex catastrophic events today. What does such management look like in the era of Homeland Security? The event took place on March 27 and March 28, 2014, to catch the 35th anniversary of the TMI accident that occurred on March 28,  1979.

TMI@35 featured experts from Penn State Faculty, external experts and stakeholders, historic personalities, and eyewitnesses. In total, the conference hosted 36 speakers from 8 U.S. states and 3 countries. It was organized by the School of Public Affairs, Chair of Homeland Security, in collaboration with other schools and units of Penn State Harrisburg and Penn State. It was open to the public and included a total of 150 participants.


Download the full conference program brochure.

Highlights included:

  • Opening address by Dick Thornburgh – Former Governor of Pennsylvania
  • Keynote speeches from:
    • Harold Denton - President Jimmy Carter’s personal adviser for the TMI accident
    • Arnie Gundersen - Fairewinds Energy Education, expert witness in the investigation of the TMI accident
    • James Loy - Former Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security
    • Robert Walker - Former Pennsylvania Congressman
    • Mark S. Singel - Former Lt. Governor of Pennsylvania
  • Oral history panel – The TMI accident from the point of view of involved/affected communities
  • Roundtable: TMI 1979 in perspective – Changes in nuclear security and safety
  • Panel: TMI and the comprehensive approach to crisis management – cross-disciplinary perspectives from Penn State research
  • Presentation: TMI and anti-nuclear activism
  • Student panel: Policy of nuclear energy
  • Concluding roundtable: Challenges ahead – What we did (not) learn from TMI for the era of Homeland Security
  • Reception hosted by the Program Office of inter-college Master program of Homeland Security, Penn State Harrisburg
  • Accompanying exhibition: "Nuclear Expressions,” displaying objects representative of cultures of coping with the TMI 1979 accident.

Conference documentation and proceedings:

  • TMI@35 proceedings, including a conference report, will be available in a collection currently under creation on Penn State ScholarSphere
  • TMI@35 feature in Penn State Harrisburg Currents, vol. 26 (Spring/Summer 2014)
  • Dr. Siedschlag and Governor Thornburgh's TMI@35 introduction and keynotes

  • Dr. Siedschlag's interview with Governor Thornburgh during the TMI@35 conference:

  • Governor Thornburgh's media interview on the TMI@35 conference:

  • Tour of the TMI@35 exhibition (exhibition poster | exhibition handout) with Governor Thornburgh:

For further information on conference results and documentation, please contact: 

Dr. Alexander Siedschlag
Professor and Chair of Penn State Homeland Security Graduate Programs
Penn State Harrisburg
School of Public Affairs
(717) 948-4326
e-mail: [email protected]