The Cry Baby is on sabbatical ....

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Remembering the Three Mile Island nuclear meltdown

Three Mile IslandImage by Allie's.Dad via Flickr
This is a good time to reflect on the U.S.'s worst nuclear disaster: Three Mile Island. This accident happened in 1979 and inspired the disaster movie "The China Syndrome". It resulted in a release of radioactive gases after a partial meltdown of its core. The accident began at 4 a.m. on Wednesday, March 28, 1979, with failures in the non-nuclear secondary system, followed by a stuck-open pilot-operated relief valve in the primary system, which allowed large amounts of nuclear reactor coolant to escape. The mechanical failures were compounded by the failure of plant operators to recognize the situation because inadequate training and other human factors, such as industrial design errors relating to ambiguous control room indicators.

The reactor was finally brought under control, although full details of the accident were not discovered until much later, following extensive investigations by both a presidential commission and the NRC. The Kemeny Commission Report concluded that "there will either be no case of cancer or the number of cases will be so small that it will never be possible to detect them."


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