I always remember the grainy video images of Chernobly and the feeling that finally the evil Soviet Union had screwed up and that they were letting their own people die and keeping the world unaware while they tried to contain the situation. I vaguely recall American scientists going over and ‘saving the day.’
The 1,000 ton reactor lid was blown off the core, the nuclear fuel rods melted, and more than 100 times the radiation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined was released into the atmosphere over the 10 days that the fire burned.
Chernobyl was much more in my mind than the 3 Mile Island incident. I was 11 when Chernobyl happened. We watched the Today show every morning with Bryant Gumbel (‘humble gumbel’ as dad calls him, though I never really knew what that meant unless he just liked see us light up at the rhyme), fellow Hoosier Jane Pauley (when she still had the hair long) and I think Brokaw on with the ‘real news’. This was before the ‘I’m on TV! Look at me!’ madness that morning television has become (which I think was cued from MTV’s TRL, right?).