Wed. Apr 14th, 2021

Washington (Reuters) – Richard Thorenberg, who rose to national prominence as governor of Pennsylvania in dealing with the 1979 Three Mile Island nuclear crisis and later battling white-collar crime as the US Attorney General, at the age of 88 on Thursday has expired.

The Pennsylvania Governor’s Office confirmed on Twitter that Thornburg passed away on Thursday. Did not give details of this.

During a partial meltdown at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania, Thornburg sought to put the public at ease by calling for partial evacuation and overseeing cleanup efforts. It was the worst nuclear accident in American history.

In 1988, President Ronald Reagan elected Thornburg as an attorney general. Reagan’s successor, George HW Bush, asked Thornburg to stay, briefly asking him to be his vice-presidential running mate.

As attorney general, he focused on white collar crime and drug trafficking and supervised the prosecution of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska. He served as the Undersecretary General at the United Nations in 1992–93.

Born on July 16, 1932 in Pennsylvania, Thornburg received a law degree from the University of Pittsburgh in 1957.

Republican Senator Pat Tommy of Pennsylvania wrote on Twitter on Thursday, “The stable nature in which he guided the PA to the nuclear accident at Three Mile Island should serve as an example for all elected officials.”

No one died during the partial recession of 1979, and a federal review found minimal health effects among the 2 million people who lived near the plant. But its name became synonymous with public fear over the risks associated with nuclear power.

(Editing by Howard Goller and Dan Grebler)

Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.

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