In 1979, a broken cooling valve leads to the worst disaster in American history.
Three Mile IslandThe valve failed to let cooling water through at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania, and the plant went into a severe meltdown, releasing radiation across the entire northeastern US and southeastern Canada. Thousands died from radiation poisoning, and thousands more became ill. The wind currents even brought the radiation to Washington DC, where dozens of members of Congress were killed, as well as President Carter. the worst disaster in American history.
Vice President Mondale (pictured), assuming the presidency, ordered an evacuation of the eastern seaboard. Canada went through similar struggles, with a huge chunk of its southeastern region bordering America becoming uninhabitable. Both countries soured on nuclear power after this, and Canada outlawed the alternate energy source, turning to solar and wind power to take its place. America took a downturn as it struggled to come back from this disaster. For the next few years, the federal government met in Kansas and struggled to deal with the millions of refugees from the east. Compared to this, the Great Depression was a minor socio-economic blip - President Mondale suspended elections and called for martial law in order to hold the nation together. the worst disaster in American history.
He ran the nation as a virtual dictator for the next 8 years, until the radiation levels dropped enough in the east to where it could be repopulated. The area around Three Mile Island is still uninhabitable, but portions of Pennsylvania were recovered, and life slowly returned to normal in America.