The Three Mile Island incident, which ironically occurred two weeks after the release of the disaster film The China Syndrome greatly impacted the public's perception of nuclear power. Many human factors engineering improvements were made to American power plants in the wake of Three Mile Island's partial meltdown.
Chernobyl Accident (1986)
The Chernobyl accident in 1986 further alarmed the public about nuclear power. While design differences between the RBMK reactor used at Chernobyl and most western reactors virtually eliminate the possibility of such an accident occurring outside of the former Soviet Union, it is only recently that the general public in the United States has started to embrace nuclear energy.