Three Mile Island
Three Mile Island is a nuclear Power Plant located in Middletown,
Pennsylvenia, five miles south of Harrisburg. On March 28, 1997 a minor
malfunction occured in the system which feeds water to the steam generators.
The plant was automatically shut down, and pressure and temperature in
the reactor increased, causing the pressure relief valve to open. The valve
got stuck and did not close as conditions returned to normal. This went
unnoticed for several hours, in which time, water that cooled the core
evaporated into the atmosphere and 90% of the reactor core was damaged.
This was the most serious, and most publicized, commercial nuclear accident
in US history.
The cause of the accident was officialy reported as operational
errors and the result of an inadequate plant design. The health effects
of the incident are generally believed to be very small. Almost all of
the gasses released are reported to be harmless and the radiation is said
to be harmless. The psychological effect the incident had on the public
was, however, severe. Despite these findings, a study done by Dr. Earnest
J. Sternglass, profesor of radiation physics at the University of Pittsburg)
showed that the accident led to a minimum of 430 infant
The general conception is that this accident set an example
for the nuclear industry. It is said that becasue of the accident at Three
Mile Island, US power plants are now operated more safely than ever.
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