Newspaper: The Sentinel

Date: April 10, 1979

Article: Safe or not, a couple 'never going back'

Author: United Press International


MARIETTA, Pa. (UPI) - Mark and Julie Sipling are never going to return to their farmhouse a half-mile from the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant.

"I don't care if Governor (Dick ) Thornburgh says it is safe to return, we are never going back," said Julie Sipling, 22, holding her 13-month-old daughter, Debbie. "We are never going to take her back up there."
Thornburgh announced Monday that it was safe for pregnant women and preschool children to return to their homes within a five-mile radius of Three Mile Island - site of the U.S' worst nuclear power plant accident.

MOST HEADED BACK home, some joyfully, but the Siplings say they will never return to their rented farm.

It was March 30, two days after the Three Mile Island accident that the governor advised pregnant women and small children in the area to leave because of the possible effects of radiation.

The Siplings' farmhouse kitchen overlooked the four huge cooling towers of the Three Mile Island nuclear plant - a mere half mile away.

An hour after the governor's announcement, they were packed and on their way to the home of Mark's parents in Marietta, about 10 miles to the southeast.

The decision not to go back was made over the weekend.

"We have had it there," Mrs. Sipling said, shaking her head.

"I'm just so glad to get out of that place. I never want to see the cooling stacks of that plant again.

"MARK IS GOING TO drive up and collect our stuff and then we are moving to somewhere where we can have more peace of mind," she said. "Mark does not trust that place anymore."

On that tense Friday the Siplings left, Mrs. Paula Richmond, who lives on a hilltop overlooking the site, also evacuated with her daughter Michelle, 7, and son, Larry Jr., 2, to stay with her parents in Williamsport, Pa., about 100 miles to the north.

When informed that all precautionary measures had been lifted, Mrs. Richmond said: "Good! I'll eat my supper and leave immediately for home."

Her husband, a Teamsters truck driver who is on strike, has been staying alone in their home since the voluntary evacuation.

"I personally don't have no fears, but I hope there will be nothing wrong with the children in the long run," she said. "We were exposed to the worst of it. Little Larry…was playing right outside when the big whoosh came."