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September 1983

No Accident

Author Affiliations

Suite 7 30 Queens Rd Melbourne, Australia 3004

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1983;40(9):1036-1037. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1983.01790080118024

To the Editor.—  I read with interest the article by Bromet et al describing reactions of psychiatric patients to the events at the Three Mile Island (TMI), Pa, nuclear reactor (Archives 1982; 39:725-730). There are several comments that need to be made.First, the title of their article is misleading. There was no "nuclear accident" at TMI. As has been described in detail by McCracken (Commentary 1979;67:27-39), the failure of equipment that did occur triggered off builtin safety mechanisms, which in fact performed exactly as they were designed to perform. McCracken also noted that the press coverage given to this event was generally sensational and alarmist; hence I believe that the study by Bromet et al is more accurately described not as reactions to a nuclear accident but as reactions to media stories of the type that could potentially cause mass panic.Second, the finding of no difference on measures

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