Three Mile Island Accident Essay

3348 words - 13 pages

“Nuclear energy had been touted as a cheap, reliable energy source ever since the first commercial reactor went into operation in 1957. Electricity would be too cheap to meter, the atomic industry boasted. But the reactors proved prohibitively expensive to construct and nuclear power became every bit as expensive as conventional forms.“In March 1979, the public’s faith in the safety of nuclear reactors-giant plants that generated power by the splitting of atoms- was undermined by an accident at Three Mile Island, a nuclear plant located ten miles from Harrisburg Pennsylvania, in the middle of the Susquehanna River.” (Gerstenzang 147)The near-meltdown from Three Mile Island Crisis would have a great effect on the industry of nuclear power and how the United States produced it’s energy.Three Mile Island Crisis started at four a.m. on March 28th, 1979 (Three Mile Island and the Future of Nuclear Energy). There was a clog in one of the pipes and the men working there had to clear it out, which was a regular occurrence. They shot air into the pipe in order to unclog it, which worked and then they went about their usual business at the power plant. What they didn’t know was that when they cleared out the pipe a cup’s worth of water had leaked out. This water was blown into the main turbines. This small amount of water caused the valves to automatically shut off because the water was interrupting the airflow into the valve. This is what started the Three Mile Island Crisis (Stephens 10).Even though the valves had stopped, the plant was still running at ninety-seven percent, which is enough to light 300,000 homes. Then, two feed water pumps have failed in the secondary cooling system which meant that there wasn’t any water circulating to remove heat from the unit so the temperature and the pressure rose dramatically. An electromagnetic relief valve opened and shot steam- five-hundred degrees at 1000 pounds per square inch- into a storage tank which lowered the pressure. While this was happening a turbine stopped and another valve released even more steam. The steam released this time was steam that would be have been used to make electricity. Within nine seconds of all this occurring silver and boron rods fell into place among zirconium rods. These silver and boron rods absorbed neutrons, which stopped the chain reaction. This action is called a “scram” and worked exactly like it was supposed to. The pressure in the cooling system returned to a safe level. At this point the electrometric valve should have closed, but it stayed open, releasing radioactive coolant into the holding tanks. Once these tanks were full the safety plate burst and the water was spilling onto the floor of the containment building (Stephens 12).The gages in the operating room said that the valve had closed., but they hadn’t. Because the valve stayed open, the cooling system’s temperature continued to drop, but the entire...

Find Another Essay On Three Mile Island Accident

NUCLEAR BRIEFING Describe how the reactor at Three Mile Island (or Chernobyl) was supposed to work. What went wrong and what are the implications of the accident?

1258 words - 5 pages NUCLEAR BRIEFINGDescribe how the reactor at Three Mile Island (or Chernobyl) was supposed to work. What went wrong and what are the implications of the accident?On 26th April 1986, what was described as "The world's worst nuclear disaster" occurred at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Ukraine. 190 tons of highly radioactive uranium and graphite were expelled into the atmosphere. The result was an international ecological disaster and as

Three Mile Island Essay

1187 words - 5 pages and ended the threat to Port Morsby. The next major event in the Pacific was the battle of Midway. Chester W. Nimitz, from New Braunsfels, TX was the commander of the U.S. troops. The Japanese wanted to take Midway Island because it would put them close to the west coast. The Aleutian Islands was used as a diversion. On June 4, 1942 the Japanese bombed Midway. Raymond A. Spruance commanded two U.S. aircraft carriers, the Enterprise and the Hornet

What Have We Learned From Three-Mile Island After 17 Years?

1000 words - 4 pages - -What Have We Learned From Three-Mile Island After 17 Years ?(Implications for Future Chernobyl's )Today in our energy hungry world, the reliance on nuclear power is getting larger and larger. Nuclear power is on top of the listof forms of power available to generate electricities in the quantities, forms and reliability needed as we head towards the 21stcentury.Current operating nuclear plants number approximately 430 through out 26 countries

Its about a nuclear power plant and the goods and bads about it

778 words - 3 pages conclusion he explains that the costs of the accident will be covered by the companies customers and that the costumers electricity payments are "expected to rise 5$ to 7$ a month." Newsweek's author writes about the costs in his conclusion as just "Scaring construction costs" and "sluggish growth" within the economy.The authors of both magazines talk about Three Mile Island, a similar accident that occurred earlier than the Ginna accident. Time talks

Industrial Disasters

1623 words - 7 pages , owned by First Energy Company of Akron, became an operational plant in 1978. Babcock and Wilcox designed both Unit one and two of Three Mile Island, and build to be a pressurized water reactor. After the accident at Three Mile Island Unit 2, the plant never opened back, even though no major injuries occurred. Three Mile Island Unit 2, located near Harrisburg, PA, had an automatic shutdown, even though the plant’s efficiency level rated about 100

Damages Caused By Nuclear Accidents

1942 words - 8 pages Island had already been deemed a disaster area. In Royaton, Pennsylvania, on the Susquehanna River, reactor two went critical on March 28, 1979 (Britannica). The Three Mile Island Accident was the largest nuclear catastrophe in the United States. Radioactive gases were released throughout the entire plant, leaking from open valves. Contaminated water as well as gases leaked into other buildings (Y2KNewswire).The reactor was out of control, the core

Accident Causation Theory

2464 words - 10 pages Accimap, HFACS, and STAMP. Safety Science, 50(4), 1158-1170. U.S.NRC. (2014). Backgrounder on the Three Mile Island Accident. Underwood, P., & Waterson, P. (2014). Systems thinking, the Swiss Cheese Model and accident analysis: A comparative systemic analysis of the Grayrigg train derailment using the ATSB, AcciMap and STAMP models. Accident Analysis and Prevention, 68, 75-94.

Knowledge Gained from Destruction

2070 words - 9 pages America today learns from the 20th century’s experimentation in nuclear technology because of its dangerous capabilities. However, America’s fear of the destruction does not stop it from researching into safe side of nuclear energy. America has learned from the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, fear of nuclear energy, and the affliction of the Three Mile Island Accident. America today has learned from these life-changing incidents by

Nuclear Power Plants and Nuclear Energy

2258 words - 9 pages the reactor cooling system opened, as it was supposed to. About 10 seconds later it should have closed. But it remained open, leaking vital reactor coolant water into the reactor coolant drain tank. The operators believed the relief valve had shut because instruments showed them that a ‘close’ signal was sent to the valve. However, they did not have an instrument indicating the valve’s actual position” (Three Mile Island Accident). This resulted

Nuclear Power: Cons

1881 words - 8 pages half-life (half-life is the period of time during which half of the nuclei in a quantity of radioactive material undergo decay) of millions of years the land will suffer for a period of equal time, as will humans.      The explosion at Three Mile Island was a shock to people who said an accident could never happen in the U.S.A. Three Mile Island was located on an island near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania on the Susquehanna

Nuclear Power -- Con

2190 words - 9 pages Island was a shock to people who said an accident could never happen in the U.S.A. Three Mile Island was located on an island near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania on the Susquehanna River. At around 4am on March 28, 1979, an accident involving reactor number 2 occurred at Three Mile Island. Although Public health was not so much threatened, an inquiry done revealed such operator incompetence that it affected the whole of American Policy on Nuclear Power

Similar Essays

The Three Mile Island Accident Essay

1045 words - 4 pages The Three Mile Island Accident When someone thinks of problems plaguing the world, nuclear energy is not the first thing that comes to peoples minds these days.[1]Nuclear power was once deemed the new energy of the future.[2]However, numerous nuclear power plant accidents around the world put a damper on that notion.The United States considers itself one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world, but 103 nuclear reactors

Three Mile Island Meltdown Essay

1324 words - 5 pages alternative fuel source must outweigh the risks. Works Cited Azevedo, Michael, and Rick Groleau. "Meltdown at Three Mile Island." American Experience. Dir. Joseph Tovares. Prod. Rick Groleau. PBS. PBS. Pbs.org. Public Broadcasting Service. Web. 1 May 2012. . Transcript. "Backgrounder on the Three Mile Island Accident." U.S.NRC. NRC, 15 Mar. 2011. Web. 02 May 2012.

What Happened At Three Mile Island?

1199 words - 5 pages This research paper discusses the Three Mile Island incident to include what started it, the results in the aftermath, and how it could have been prevented. The Three Mile Island Unit 2 (TMI-2) reactor, near Middletown, Pa., partially melted down on March 28, 1979. This was the most serious accident in U.S. commercial nuclear power plant operating history, although its small radioactive releases had no detectable health effects on plant workers

The Three Mile Island Near Disaster

2313 words - 9 pages , less than a glassful of water was about to start the accident at Three Mile Island.(Stephens 9).Due to the closing of the feedwater pump valves, both of the two feedwater pumps failed at Unit 2. This resulted in a devastating blow to the reactor. Due to the lack of water reaching the reactor and its turbines, no heat was being removed from them. However, within nine seconds of lack of heat removal, almost 70 control rods made of boron and silver