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On an isle ten miles from Harrisburg, resides the Three Mile Island Nuclear Station. Today, there are two reactors, Unit 1 and Unit 2. One reactor is not working. Unit 2 suffered from a partial meltdown on March 28, 1979. An incomplete meltdown is when the uranium rods begin to liquefy; however, they do not fall through the floor and break the control systems. The accident that took place at Unit 2 is the worst nuclear tragedy in American history. Why did it occur? There are a number of grounds for that incident, but the two major reasons are human mistakes and the breakdown of a rather minor regulator in Unit 2. This paper is meant to clarify how it was possible for the accident to occur and the psychological and physical impacts on the American populace.

The Accident at Three Mile Island

The incident at Three Mile Island started at about four in the morning with a malfunction of one of regulators, which managed coolant flow into Unit 2. The total of cool water entering the reactor lessened, and the core temperature rose. Automatic computerized systems engaged and slowed the rate at which the core temperature was augmenting. But the temperature was still increasing. The pumps taking water away from a core were active, and a regulator that controlled the cool water entering a core malfunctioned. Due to these circumstances, the water was leaving a core. This lessened the coolant in a core. As there was not enough coolant in a core, the Emergency Core Cooling System turned on. This should have provided additional coolant to make up for the stuck regulator, except that the reactor operator, believing that enough coolant was in the core, closed it too soon.

There actually was not enough coolant, and the core’s temperature was rising. A regulator opened to emit the steam in a core. This should have assisted by taking away hot steam, but the regulator did not close correctly. Since people did not realize the regulator had failed to shut, they thought that the incident was under control as the temperature was not increasing. Only two weeks later Unit 2 was brought to a power cut and the case was over (Rosa, Dunlap 295-325).

The Consequences of Three Mile Island Accident

No one was directly hurt as a result of this incident. Nevertheless, radioactive water and gas were vented to the surroundings around the Unit 2. Also, radioactive water appeared in the Susquehanna River that is a resource of drinking water for communities. Nobody knows for sure what impacts the radioactive releases might have had on human beings and animals living near the plant (Gregory 2011).

Generally speaking, in the past four decades, the globe has seen three terrible nuclear accidents – Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima Daiichi. The short and long-standing health hazards associated with the tragedies and the following surroundings’ remediation attempts all serve as crucial lessons for impending evolvements in nuclear power. A 2003 health research conducted in the Three Mile Island area discovered cancer-related mortality rates of infants, children, and the elderly skyrocketed in two years after the tragedy (Rosa, Dunlap 295-325). While the accurate health impacts attributed to nuclear dramas can never be reviewed, they do stress the significance of properly educating people who live close to a plant.

In the USA, a home to 104 reactors, the greatest number of plants in the globe, federal legislation prescribes training for people living within a ten-mile area of a nuclear plant (Rosa, Dunlap 295-325). In the case of huge nuclear accidents, greater attempts should still be made in the USA and other nuclear countries to educate the populace. Brochures distributed to residents living near nuclear plants could provide valuable information. Through communication and training, hazards of cancer caused by radiation exposure could be lessened, therefore, lessening the perceived risks of living close to a nuclear plant. To reduce the potential environmental and health impacts, the places of upcoming plants should be thoroughly scrutinized to consider all probable hazards.

In spite of the terrible heritage of Three Mile Island, recently support for nuclear energy has started to increase. Thanks to the worries concerning the global warming, the hostile public relations pushed by the nuclear sphere, and common loss of memory about past incidents, the US populace have grown more receptive to the notion of creating novel plants (as long as they are located in someone else’s neighborhood). This is at least part of the ground why Minnesota voted to stop the state’s moratorium against the development of novel plants, a move that was supported by Republican and Democratic legislators. For those people who resist nuclear power, this change in public opinion has been a worrying moment (Gregory 2011).

Americans’ Perception

Unlike a well-known history concerning the way Three Mile Island destroyed the evolvement of nuclear plants in the USA, polling information actually demonstrates that attitudes did not alter too much after the tragedy and quickly recovered. Support for novel plant only fell radically few years later in 1982 due to the fear of a bomb and nuclear war.

CNN and CBS News released researches conducted in 2011, demonstrating an insignificant decline in support for creating novel plants. CNN discovered that 53% of US populace resists erecting novel plants in the country, an increase of only six points from the 2010. In the poll, 46 percent still support the erection of extra nuclear plants. CBS recorded a turn down in support of fourteen points from 57 percent in 2008 to 43 percent nowadays, but the 2008 digit was likely exaggerated by people distressed for any reasonable relief from petrol prices (Gregory 2011).

Rosa and Dunlap (295-325) observed public support for nuclear power and found out that it actually lessened not in 1979, when Three Mile Island happened, but in 1982 after worries concerning nuclear war spiked. Chernobyl had comparatively little influence on attitudes, which remained at low levels. The support for creating plants was much lower in 1982-1983 than right after Three Mile Island. In fact, after a first turn down in the awaken Three Mile Island, support for novel plants practically entirely rebounded one year after the accident. The concerns about nuclear arms peaked in 1982, at the period of the turnaround in attitudes toward erection more plants, offering that weapon concerns had spilled over to domain of nuclear power. The overflow seems to have initiated a constant development in opposition to nuclear plant erection (Rosa, Dunlap 295-325).


Three Mile Island alone influenced attitudes temporarily. But when combined to the other negative accounts afterward, the impact on the populace’s opinion was vivid and enduring. From 1982, the level of support for nuclear power is 46%, far lower than the degrees observed after Three Mile Island. Unless one more nuclear story frightens the populace in the next several years, the Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima Daiichi will likely have temporary, restricted impacts on public policy.

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