Three Mile Island Nuclear Generating Station near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania experienced a partial core meltdown. Just twelve days earlier The China Syndrome, a Hollywood blockbuster starring Jane Fonda and Michael Douglas, made its theatrical debut. Suddenly, the safety of nuclear energy was at the forefront of public debate.
Energy Probe, a Toronto-based organization, had long expressed concerns about the economic and environmental shortcomings of nuclear energy. As it turns out, Lawrence Solomon had just finished an anti-nuclear pamphlet the morning of the Three Mile Island accident. Upon hearing the breaking news, he quickly changed the headline to read "it's no longer a movie: it just happened in Pennsylvania (and it could happen here)". After churning off a batch on the Energy Probe Gestetner machine, staff visited nearby theatres and handed out the copies to unsuspecting moviegoers. As Solomon explained to me in an interview, "The China Syndrome ended up being a perfect fundraising opportunity for us." Funding would take on particular importance the following year, as the organization severed its relationship with the Pollution Probe Foundation and struck out on its own.