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What Really Happened at Three Mile Island

On March 28, 2006 it will be the 27th anniversary of the nuclear accident at Three Mile Island near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. I had just moved my family to South Jersey from York, Pennsylvania.When I heard about the accident I got very nervous.

On the Sunday after the accident I got in my car and drove to York. I picked up my daughter who I had left there to complete her last couple of months of High School. I picked her up and never took her back.

There was quite a bit of news about the accident at Three Mile Island in South Jersey, at least enough to cause me concern. In York, there was no news. The people didn't know what was going on; certainly nothing serious.

I realized the news was in blackout in York. I packed up my daughter and headed for South Jersey, hoping that not too much of the fallout would drift our way. An evacuation of the area in Pennsylvania was eventually initiated.

Three Mile Island was a major disaster downplayed by the White House. Admiral Rickover presented a full report and was later sorry that he was not able to persuade President Carter to make a full disclosure of the event. I remember what the public was told. We were told that only a small amount of radiation had leaked out of the facility and that the public was not in danger.

What happened was that a reactor went into melt down and 10 years later it was still too dangerous to approach. Some folks that lived in the area got large awards for possible damage. These awards were given in secret.

One woman was given an award for having a Down syndrome baby?possibly not caused by radiation?but she was paid anyway.After the incident, the company who owned Three Mile Island requested that they be allowed to release a million gallons of contaminated water as steam. As one might expect, there was resentment that they would even suggest it.There are many documents on the Internet about Three Mile Island.

Just type Three Mile Island into your favorite search box.There is a chronology of worldwide nuclear accidents at http://archive.greenpeace.org/comms/nukes/chernob/rep02.html.In April of 1986 I was flying from Germany to England.

I knew that a cloud of nuclear contaminants was coming from Chernobyl-4.It was not a comfortable feeling. I wondered how much radiation I had been exposed to from the days of nuclear testing in Nevada to that date.President Bush now wants to increase the number of nuclear reactors operating in the United States.

After you've studied the tabulations at http://archive.greenpeace.org/comms/nukes/chernob/rep02.html you may not think it is such a great idea.Just over thirty years ago I toured the nuclear reactors here in Idaho. There was a major nuclear accident at Arco just a few years before my visit.

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Idaho_National_Laboratory we read "On January 3, 1961, the first fatal nuclear accident in the United States occurred at the NRTS.

An experimental reactor called SL-1 (Stationary Low-Power Plant Number 1) was destroyed when a control rod was removed incorrectly leading to core meltdown and explosion. All three men working in the reactor were killed. Due to the extensive radioactive isotope contamination, all three had to be buried in lead coffins. The events are the subject of a book published in 2003, "Idaho Falls: The untold story of America's first nuclear accident.".

The accident was vivid in the minds of the engineers and physicist we talked to at Arco. Doctors and nurses had little time to work on contaminated workers. They showered together to reduce nuclear exposure. There was no blackout on the Arco accident. I knew the details before I got to Arco.Every precaution is taken to prevent disaster in nuclear operations.

The problems come when automatic safety systems don't work, when operators make mistakes or fail to make needed correction either because of error or lack of knowledge, or the corrective action is impossible.When nuclear reactors are working safely, there is still the problem of nuclear waste. I worked on this over thirty years ago.

Technology has improved since my day but there is tremendous cost in the stabilizing or isolating nuclear waste. Does your state want nuclear waste facilities? I didn't think so. Some states object to nuclear waste being transported across their state lines.Here is my take on nuclear operations: The past has shown that we have not been able to operate safely.

.

John T. Jones, Ph.D. (tjbooks@hotmail.

com, a retired VP of R&D for Lenox China, is author of detective & western novels, nonfiction (business, scientific, engineering, humor), poetry, etc. Former editor of Ceramic Industry Magazine. He is Executive Representative of IWS sellers of Tyler Hicks wealth-success books and kits. He also sells TopFlight flagpoles.

He calls himself "Taylor Jones, the hack writer.".More info: http://www.tjbooks.com.Business web site: http://www.

aaaflagpoles.com.

By: John T Jones, Ph.D.



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