Thursday, September 20, 2012

Three Mile Island Reactor Shuts Down Unexpectedly

From NBC News (9/20/2012):

A reactor at Three Mile Island, the site of the nation’s worst nuclear accident, shut down unexpectedly on Thursday afternoon when a coolant pump tripped and steam was released, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission told NBC News.

The system tripped when "the pump stopped operating and created a power/flow imbalance," said NRC spokesman Neil Sheehan.

The plant responded as designed and is stable with no impact on public health or safety, added NRC spokeswoman Diane Screnci.

If any radiation was in the released steam, Screnci said, it would be below detectable levels.

Exelon, the plant operator, said in a statement that "during the shutdown, steam was released into the atmosphere, creating a loud noise heard by nearby residents."

A NRC inspector based at the plant "responded to the control room immediately after the reactor trip to independently assess control room operators' response to the event and ensure safety systems were functioning as designed," Sheehan said. "He did not identify any immediate concerns with operator or equipment performance."

Plant operators were not yet sure what caused the problem.

"Once the reactor is sufficiently cooled down, plant personnel will be able to access the containment building and troubleshoot the problem," Sheehan added.

Located about 12 miles south of Harrisburg, Pa., Three Mile Island in 1979 saw a partial meltdown of one of its nuclear reactor cores. Small amounts of radiation were released into the environment when the reactor core lost cooling water, exposing the highly radioactive fuel rods.

A presidential commission later said the accident was "the result of a series of human, institutional and mechanical failures."

Several thousand people claimed they had suffered ill health effects from radiation, but their lawsuit was rejected by a federal court in 1996 with the judge concluding they had not proved their case.

Various assessments by the government and nuclear industry have concluded no radiation-related deaths or illnesses resulted from the accident.


Atomfritz said...

Almost exactly one month ago the reactor was already shut down due of a cooling system leak caused by microcracks which got hastily fixed and the reactor restarted two weeks ago.

More information and some links here:

stone stupid nuclear shill said...

Another proof that a country's steady electrical power supply by renewables can never work, because the wind doesn't shine at night, sometimes the sun doesn't blow. Only a nuclear power plant can deliver electricity 24/7...But wait!...Oops!....I should have read the article first!

SkyeMartyn said...

"Various assessments by the government and nuclear industry have concluded no radiation-related deaths or illnesses resulted from the accident."

These peer reviewed studies (only linked to one, but there are others) seem to come to a different conclusion regarding TMI's health impacts:

Of course, the problem is I can't say with 100% accuracy that radiation exposure caused a cancer. However, neither can the industry say it 100% didn't. There is good evidence to show that even low dose expose increases cancer risk, especially in young girls, pregnant women and babies.

Anonymous said...

Why isn't NRC telling us any estimate of the releases to the environment and then we decide whether they are big or small...?

Anonymous said...

The whole "chance of risk" logic is flawed and plain stupid. Fact is, radiation damages the body in various ways. Just because the effects of it aren't immediately visible, doesn't mean it's safe.

Once the damage is done, if it's not the person who received the damage that's affected, it'll be their children. It's established fact, but people refuse to accept or even attempt to comprehend these facts because they're so short-sighted.

Humans are just too temporal and only see things in the context of their own short lives. Get rich now, worry about the consequences later, etc.

Anonymous said...

Isn't the HERSHEY chocolate factory downwind of TMI? Don't they buy local milk for use in their milk chocolate?

Chocolate lovers untie against nuclear power.

TechDud said...


Information pertaining to the whereabouts of 20+ tons of fissile material from Three Mile Island in 1979.

No questions asked upon return.

Post a Comment