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 or the public. Its aftermath brought about sweeping changes involving emergency response planning, reactor operator training, human factors engineering, radiation protection, and many other areas of nuclear power plant operations. It also caused the NRC (Nuclear Regulatory Commission) to tighten and heighten its regulatory oversight. All of these changes significantly enhanced U.S. reactor safety. A combination of equipment malfunctions, design-related problems and worker errors led to TMI-2's partial meltdown and very small off-site releases of radioactivity.

What Happened at Three Mile Island?
There are three primary reasons that were directly responsible for what happened at Three Mile Island. Equipment design, mechanical malfunctions, and human error were the key contributors to the Three mile Island Unit 2 reactor melt down. The accident began about 4 a.m. on Wednesday, March 28, 1979. Either a mechanical or electrical problem stopped the water pumps from cooling the reactor core. This made the reactor overheat to the point of rupturing the long tubes that hold nuclear fuel pellets.
Instantly, the pressure in the primary system (the portion of the plant that is nuclear) started to rise. As a means to manage that pressure, the pilot-operated relief valve (the top valve of the pressurizer) opened. It is assumed that the valve should have closed when the pressure returned to proper levels; however, it remained in the open position. Instruments in the control room had the plant staff to believe that the valve was in the shut position. For this reason, the plant staff had no idea that cooling water was still coming out of the stuck-open valve. As a result 700,000 gallons of coolant continued from the primary system through the valve in to the basement of the primary reactor. Other instruments available to reactor operators provided inadequate information (ND, 2014).
Equipment Malfunctions
Looking at the beginning of the accident, failure of the non-nuclear reactor main feed water pumps became the starting point of the whole incident. Mechanical error happened before any other errors at the actual nuclear reactor side of the power plant. The follow on problems showed a glaring design flaw of the system. This is a very good reason why US Army Soldiers undergo extensive training in radioactive equipment preventive maintenance, checks and services. They use many publications to include technical manuals, special bulletins, and training circulars. Army Soldiers train on identifying malfunctions, and...

Find Another Essay On What Happened at Three Mile Island?

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

The Three Mile Island Near Disaster

2313 words - 9 pages millions of gallons of water moving through every day. These all important pipes, three feet in diameter, carried the water to the reactor's turbines, so it could be cooled. Crashes were common at reactors due the huge pressure and force being produced from things, like water and pipes, rapidly cooling and reheating. All in all, the Unit 2 building of Three Mile Island was an unpleasant place to be.There were also huge resin filters at Three Mile

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

What happened at the Constitutional Convention of 1787, and why was it significant?

1247 words - 5 pages The Constitution of the United States is arguably the finest historical document in the history of the world. The freedoms and rights that are given to us by the Constitution are what make America the greatest country in the world to live in. However, this document was not constructed over night. The United States' system of Government has gone through numerous changes to become the great system that it is today.In the years following the

What happened at the Constitutional Convention of 1787, and why was it significant

1225 words - 5 pages downfalls, several conventions were set up in our country's early years to try and fix some of the problems. However, it was until the convention of 1787, which was to revise the Articles of Confederation, that our country really took shape.Seventy-four delegates from twelve of the thirteen states were invited to attend this Convention. Of these seventy-four, only fifty-five managed to show up. All states except Rhode Island chose to attend this

What three items to bring with you on a deserted island, teacher found it quite humerous, its very long

2271 words - 9 pages Three Weeks On A Deserted IslandFor how many years has man asked the question, "what three items would you bring with you if you were stranded on a deserted island?" Well today that question will be answered. In the following essay it will be proven that an axe, a deep metal skillet, and very large spool of thick rope, would be the three items, which would help someone best survive for three weeks on a deserted island. This will be proven

AP US History: What happened at Lexington Green. Looks at the viewpoints of this situation from the standpoint of several different historians.

2485 words - 10 pages What Happened On Lexington GreenTime is something unrecoverable. Every passing moment of your life is captured and then lost somewhere in time and will never be replayed again in the physical world. We call this 'history'. History has existed for however long time has existed. The only reason we know about our history is if, after time has passed, the events of that moment were recorded somewhere, whether it be in an audio or video tape, a

What really happened at the Battle of Antietam? Why is the Battle of Antietam called 'The Bloodiest Day' of the Civil War?

2415 words - 10 pages way back to Antietam Creek. Both sides sent in all of their reinforcements and the battle became a face off. At the end of the night both exhausted sides stopped firing and rested. The Battle of Antietam had ended. That night Lee and his men slipped back across the Potomac into friendly territory.That is what really happened at the Battle of Antietam. This battle is called the 'Bloodiest Day' in the Civil War because the total amount of Federals

What is the difference between diegetic and non-diegetic sound? Discuss with reference to at least three recent films.

2148 words - 9 pages What is the difference between diegetic and non-diegetic sound? Can they ever be confused? Discuss with reference to at least three recent films.For this essay I shall be highlighting the differences between the two terms; diegetic and non-diegetic sound. I shall also discuss whether or not the terms and their meanings could ever be confused. To help highlight my arguments within this essay I shall reference to films such as "The Italian Job

The Yalta Conference, detailed information on what happend behind the table of the "Big three leaders" at the end of WWII,bibliography included

2950 words - 12 pages of the United States and the communist regime of the Soviet Union. The three players were Winston Churchill of Great Britain, Franklin Delano Roosevelt of the United States and Joseph Stalin of the Soviet Union, two of which, Roosevelt and Churchill, seeked nothing more than a 'moral' world order, culminating with the Roseveltian United Nations. The third one, Joseph Stalin, however, seeking a new Soviet Empire. This meeting of the "Big Three" at

The Poems in 'The Whitsun Weddings' show an interest in the Lives of Ordinary People. Discuss What Larkin has to say about them in at least three poems. (philip larkin - the whitsun weddings)

943 words - 4 pages people being honest' , it is talking about them in the generic sense, suggesting that all human relationships in general are like this. This is what Larkin feels most everyday people will experience in their lifetime with their partners. It shows confusion as to how 'Talking in Bed', should be easy, yet people still lie there in silence.The second stanza talks of the 'time (passing) silently'. There is a break in the text before this line to

Similar Essays

Three Mile Island Meltdown Essay

1324 words - 5 pages sustainability is to use only what we need and leave an overabundance of resources for future generations. Developing alternative energy sources, regardless of the type, have a global impact. The biggest global impact of Three Mile Island was the overall underdevelopment of other alternative fuel sources and fed into a further reliance on international fossil fuels. The tragedy at Three Mile Island reminds everyone that the rewards of any

Three Mile Island Accident Essay

3348 words - 13 pages 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

Three Mile Island Essay

1187 words - 5 pages April of 1945. We needed to bomb Iwo Jima because it put us 750 miles from Tokyo. The allies invaded on February 19, 1945 and secured it on March 16,1945. Okinawa put us 350 miles of the southern most Japanese island. We invaded on Easter Sunday on April 1, 1945 and secured it on June 21, 1945. The allies suffered 49,000 casualties and 109,000 Japanese were killed. This was the last major land battle of the war. At the Potsdam conference in July

The Three Mile Island Accident Essay

1045 words - 4 pages additional installations of equipment that monitor the amount of radiation and the status of the plant.These are only a few of the new rules and regulations that the NRC is now requiring all nuclear power plants to comply with.[13] The accident at Three Mile Island Nuclear Power Facility was the worst one in United States history.The possibilities of what could have happened would have been catastrophic.Though there should have been many more