Meltdown at Three Mile Island is a comprehensive study of the meltdown. For those who have not read it, it was written by Joseph Trento, former Director of Research for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the author of the book “Nuclear Power and Its Alternatives.” As a former employee of one of the nuclear power plants, he is familiar with the workings of the nuclear power industry. His comments on the meltdown at Three Mile Island should be taken as accurate and should be of interest to those who want to learn more about the meltdown.
Meltdown at Three Mile Island is interesting in several ways. It is comprehensive in its approach. It also makes some valid points about the dangers of nuclear power. The problems that led to the meltdown at Three Mile Island are difficult to ignore. For those who want to learn more about the meltdown, this book should be considered an invaluable reference.
The key to understanding the meltdowns at Three Mile Island is to look at how the plant is designed. Unique design allows electricity from the nuclear power plant to be sold into the national electric grid at a lower cost than other forms of energy such as coal. The power from the nuclear reactor is stored in used fuel rods that were used in the old plant. These used fuel rods need to be shielded from being tampered with by workers or even by the weather. It is easy to prevent them from being tampered with but hard to prevent them from melting down. The original design had many things working against safety:
– In the event of a meltdown, the molten fuel rods would fall through the roof and onto the floor. The problem is that the original design was poorly designed and it took too long for the molten fuel rods to cool down before they could fall to the floor. This meant that the workers were exposed to the melted fuel rods even after the main melt-down event.
– Because the floor was also slanted so that water was not able to drain away from the building as it did at the old plant, there was no way to prevent the water from causing damage to the building. In the event of a leak, the fuel rods would also end up on the ground where it was hard to remove them. This meant that the area surrounding the building, which was made of concrete, was filled with contaminated water. There were two leaks at the Three Mile Island plant.
Meltdown at Three Mile Island is an excellent book because it has a wealth of information to help people better understand the basics of nuclear power. Those who are interested in the effects of nuclear power should read this book. However, those who are not yet interested in taking advantage of nuclear power should not read this book. They should refer to other materials that cover nuclear power.
It takes a great amount of information to fully understand what happened at Three Mile Island. Joseph Trento gives a great deal of detail to explain why the meltdowns occurred, but it is important to remember that the lessons from the meltdowns are not set in stone. It is up to each individual to choose the path they wish to take.
It is comforting to know that there are more materials available that go into explaining the issues surrounding nuclear power. We do not have to be so overwhelmed by the issue to appreciate that we must educate ourselves. It is in our best interest to follow the examples of the Three Mile Island workers and avoid the mistakes of the past.