Three Mile Island Ryan and Sam

Three Mile Island is a nuclear power plant island in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania. On March 28th, 1979, in the Number 2 reactor, there was a partial nuclear leak. It was a cooling malfunction within the reactor. This accident ended up being the worst nuclear hazard in United States history. Fortunately, no workers or civilians were injured. Many toxic gases were released into the atmosphere and this caused fear for many people and several plants were shut down immediately after the accident.

There were many causes of the accident but they were all from humans. The plant was started by humans and it had an accident by humans

  • One cause from humans was that the reader for water level was not correct. Therefore, the staff assumed that if the level was high, it was fine. They were wrong, and the water that was supposed to cool the core flowed out and was gone.
  • Another main reason was that the pressure relief valve stayed open when it should have closed. The valve was pilot-operated and staff did not check the parts to make sure it was running correctly. Therefore, the valve did not shut and it caused all of the cooling water to flow out.

Because of these human-made accidents, the core overheated and the metal and structure melted around it, causing a leak.

There was not a very major environmental impact from Three Mile Island but there were multiple animals that were affected.

  • On a farm near the power plant, 290 duck eggs never hatched after the leak.
  • about 30 rabbits and guinea pigs died due to radioactive poisoning.
  • Away from the farms, many snakes were killed and some dogs were affected as they gave birth to dogs with defects such as not having eyes.

Overall, Three Mile Island did not have a crazy impact but some animals were affected and may still be affected.

There is an abundance of solutions in terms of before and after the accident of Three Mile Island. There were solutions to prevent it that could have been done only by humans.

  • The staff could have been less lazy and checked the valves and gauges every day.
  • They could have been more precise when trying to read the gauges about the water level.
  • They should have double checked the readers for water level and the hatch that did not close.
Water gauge

Overall, before the accident, the staff should have double checked everything everyday instead of being lazy to prevent any major problems. However, the accident happened, and there were solutions that occurred to help after with cleanup and safety of civilians. It took 14 years to clean up all the contaminated water and steamed land and clear dead animals and fix broken structures. In 1993, the cleanup was finally done, after $15 billion had been used to fix everything. They cleaned it in multiple ways.

  • For safety, all pregnant women were evacuated and all people around the area were evacuated until the leak was done.
  • The first major phase¬†of cleanup was complete in 1990 when 150 tons of radioactive wreckage were shipped to Idaho for storage. This was the biggest part of cleanup.
  • Then, staff and volunteers did the final touches by removing any extra waste and fixing the reactors that melted.
  • For comparison: Chernobyl was an awfully damaging and killing nuclear accident that started the same way as Three Mile Island. The difference was that the Chernobyl reactor wall collapsed with the rest, causing a bigger and more damaging leak and meltdown. At Three Mile Island, the wall stayed in tact and that is what prevented an explosion or anything worse, thankfully.
Cleanup of nuclear waste

There are many ways to avoid future problems with nuclear leakage. Humans can use all of these ways to stop or lessen nuclear damage.

  • Now, with better technology, people can install more reliable tools. If another meltdown were to occur, these tools would also increase reaction time.
  • They can be more cautious and check things more often.
  • Staff can receive much more training.
  • People can refresh the valves and gauges every month to ensure safety.
  • If another meltdown occurs, we can notify other states/countries early to prepare them depending on how large the affect is.
  • We can be more precise and careful when building any structure that has to do with nuclear materials.

Overall, there are many ways the solution could have been prevented but we will use that current knowledge to prevent future problems.

Three Mile Island was a bad accident caused by humans but we have learned from our mistakes to prevent anything like it in the future.

Works Cited

"Backgrounder on the Three Mile Island Accident." NRC, www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/fact-sheets/3mile-isle.html.

"Three Mile Island." History.com, www.history.com/topics/three-mile-island.

"Three Mile Island Accident." Britannica.com, www.britannica.com/event/Three-Mile-Island-accident.

"Three Mile Island Accident." World Nuclear Association, www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/safety-and-security/safety-of-plants/three-mile-island-accident.aspx.

"Three Mile Island Emergency." Three Mile Island, threemileisland.org/.

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