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 (1).Nuclear energy production will grow an average of 3.3 to 4.2% PER YEAR worldwide from 1988-2005 (IAEA News briefs,Sept.1989). Though we have experienced if not the worst technogenic environmental disaster of the 20th century ten years ago- Chernobyl, together with the partial meltdown at Three Mile Island seventeen years ago, most people today give only passingthoughts to the issue of nuclear safety worldwide.These two cases are only mere examples of the ominous potential foraccidents of great magnitude within such nuclear plants worldwide (2). It is vital that we understand both the logic andoutcomes of such disasters. Today 10 years later,effects of Chernobyl are still hazardous and have been detected all over theworld. Belarus, a country most affected by history's worst nuclear disaster does not even have a nuclear plant. The radiationreleased from Chernobyl was 200 times more than that of the combined releases of the atom bombs that annihilated Hiroshimaand Nagasaki in 1945 (3). Due to prevailing winds, 25 percent of the land in Belarus is uninhabitable. All normal life hasstopped there, people are afraid to move, stay, marry and afraid to have families. The costs of the accidents after-effects aremonumental; resettlement of people affected, medical and clean-up costs are just a few on the priority list.The problem lies in ignorance of interactions between human, engineering, organizational and managerial factors of such asystem. In most cases human error is customarily cited as a major cause of the calamity. Sometimes in my mind I cannot blamethe opearators involved. Reason being that the control rooms of such plants are a maze of complex displays and controlsspread over an array of immense rooms. In the case of an emergency, due to the mere size and complexity of such rooms,errors are just begging to occur! Error is also a combination of many factors such as ineffective training, intricate operatingprocedures, erratic rebuttal systems, non-pliable managerial systems, non-conforming organizational designs and naturaldisasters. Usually the direction taken to ensure safety at such nuclear plants is one of tending to find an engineering solution. Ifthe above mentioned factors together with the use of safety and human factors in the enginnering education for such large-scaletechological systems are used, then we would be heading the right direction; a safer, productive life not only for us but for ourenvironment too. Nuclear regulation is the public's business (4).Politics, resource and structural...

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