Nuclear Crisis at Three Mile Island Essay

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Nuclear Crisis at Three Mile Island Abstract In March of 1979, just ten miles south of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, the Nuclear Power Plant at Three Mile Island Unit 2 came close to nuclear melt down. Despite standards set by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), the plant ran for several years prior to the accident under poor conditions. Communication certainly played a role in this near tragedy, as two engineers had foreseen the consequences, but their advice went unheeded. Although most of the economic and social impacts of this incident were minimal, this unpleasant event ended the nuclear power industry in America. Introduction The plant at Three Mile Island was a headache from the start. The $700,000,000 project…show more content…
In the control room, approximately fifty alarms were constantly going off. Jim Creswell was certain that the operators down at TMI-2 were taking the wrong measures when accidents occurred. But Creswell was considered a nuisance and a troublemaker, whenever he brought these things to his boss’ attention. Everything costs money to fix, and the plant was new, they just need time to work out the kinks. Creswell was not the only one to notice the problem. At the Tennessee Valley Authority, whistle-blower and engineer, Carl Michelson had found a major flaw in the system in Unit Two: The pipe connecting the pressurizer to the rest of the system dips. Like the U-shaped sink drain trap at home, the bend works as a vapor lock. This is great at home, because it keeps the sewer gasses from backing up. Here, it meant that the water cooling the nuclear waste could turn to steam, and this steam could be trapped in the main loop with no safe ventilation route. Michelson realized that if the plant had such an occurrence after a few years running, the results could be disastrous, but he was also aware of how the NRC worked and how expensive it is to change equipment. Michelson was set on getting management to notice the problem, despite their opposition. The design of the control room revealed the overconfidence of plant management. The control room was designed for normal

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