Recent Nuclear Power Events

Nuclear Power Incidents


Lessons learned

Three Mile Island

TMI-1 Sold!
("We got it for a song!")

The 1986 accident at Chernobyl was the worst nuclear disaster that has befallen the nuclear industry.  It was caused by a series of stupidities and compounded by a positive void coefficient (meaning: the tendency, if the reactor was too hot to get hotter yet, a tendency that does not exist in US reactors), the lack of a containment building, and the Soviet refusal to evacuate citizens in danger.

Presumably, the Ukranians have learned something from the disaster, if only that their reactor operators need excellent training and should not be allowed to do experiments with the power plant.  (Properly run, the reactors at Chernobyl had produced electicity for years.)  They have also learned that their civilization simply cannot survive without electricity.  Unit-3 of the Chernobyl complex, sitting adjacent to the failed Unit-2 is back on line, and running well.  By international agreement, it is supposed to be replaced by 2000; meanwhile, the Ukraines need the electricity Unit-3 can provide.

The May, 1979, accident at Three Mile Island was extremely mild compared to the accident at Chernobyl.  There were no casualties, and the total population exposure to radiation will most likely cause not a single cancer.  Because of the accident, the NRC forced the utility to shut off TMI Unit-1; only after a decade was the undamaged Unit-1 allowed to produce power.  It promptly set an endurance record producing full power for a full year with no interruptions. 

The news is that Unit-1 has been sold to AmerGen for a bargain-basement price.  AmerGen intends to produce electricity for a decent profit.

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