The Lingering Effects of Three Mile Island

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The Lingering Effects of Three Mile Island The Three Mile Island accident took place in Middletown, Pennsylvania, on March 28, 1979. During this accident even though there was no meltdown, there was some radioactive gas that was let out into the air. As a result more than 50,000 people were evacuated from their homes (Levine 60-3). The Three Mile Island incident had a major impact on public opinion, the construction of nuclear plants, and the future of nuclear power. Three Mile Island was a three month old nuclear power plant located in southeast Pennsylvania. On March 28, 1979, a series of mechanical and human errors led to above-normal levels of radioactive gas being released into the air. Subsequently 400,000 gallons of water from a holding tank containing xenon-133 and xenon-135 was released into the Susquehanna River. (Davis 313) By the end of Thursday, March 29, detectable levels of increased radiation were measured over a four-county area. Plant officials estimated that 180 to 300 of the 36,000 fuel rods in the reactor had melted. (Davis 313) The governor advised that pregnant women and small children evacuate and stay at least five miles away from the facility. They did this for good reason because almost 80% of the gas escaped the morning of the accident (Davis 313). After the accident people filed more than 2,200 law suits. But only 280 claims have been settled for $14 million (Freiham 290). Deaths from thyroid cancer have been monitored in Middletown, but no link to radiation has been established (Davis 314). The Three Mile Island unit number 1 got $95 million in modifications. It was also renovated. It took them six years to do all of this. The Three Mile Island unit number 2 was not repaired. However, safety experts still continued to observe and monitor the plant until early 2000. By now the total life-time cost at the Three Mile Island nuclear plant is close to $2 billion (Freiham 290-91). The Three Mile Island incident attracted hundreds of reporters. According to Wilborn Hampton, “there seemed to be more journalists than local residents.” (Hampton 46). Many people compared the Three Mile Island accident to a movie called “The China Syndrome” where almost the same thing happened (Levine 60). Metropolitan Edison failed to alert any state or federal of... ... middle of paper ... ... years to recover. Three Mile Island made many people very hysterical, but it wasn’t as bad as it seemed. Even thought it was significant, there were really no serious accidents or problems that happened (Pratt 1). However it had a huge effect on public opinion, the construction on nuclear plants, and the future of nuclear power. Works Cited Davis, Lee. Man-Made Catastrophes. New York: Facts on File, 2002 Freiham, Fron L. Failed Technology-true stories of technological disaster. New York: International Thompson Publishing Company, 1995. Hampton, Wilborn. Meltdown: A Race against Nuclear Disaster at Three Mile Island. Cambridge; Candle Wick Press, 2001. Ivry, Bob. “Nuclear Power Heats Up (Again)”. Popular Science Oct. 2003: 33-6. Lavelle, Marianne. “When the World Stopped”. U.S. News and World Report 29 March 1999: 38-9. Levine, Matt, ed. The Associated Press of Disaster Nuclear and Industrial Disasters. Connecticut: Grolier Educational, 1998. “Looking Anew at Our Nuclear Future.” Readers Digest July 1979: 72-6. Pratt, Joe. Personal Interview. 8 February, 2004.

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