One may think of the accident at Three Mile Island as a social event by recalling the ambiguities and uncertainties in social relationships that it revealed. A view of the accident as primarily a failure of the social systems gained prominence in the commission's thinking as a result of what it learned during the investigation. The attitudinal and ideological components of the term mindset are easily recognized in the intellectual and research traditions of the social sciences. Greater access may lead to a moderation of the nuclear debate, although the conditions for effective societal consensus may not be attainable short of arresting nuclear development at the planned level. The energy-related education of social scientists that will facilitate their involvement in the areas is a parallel need. The social assessment of technology and the management of its risks demand and deserve research attention across a broad spectrum of disciplines.