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The Three Mile Island Accident - Essay Example

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This essay describes the Three Mile accident that occurred in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania State in America. It outlines the preliminary cause and the government’s response and the effects of the accident…
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The Three Mile Island Accident
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Download file to see previous pages The preliminary cause of the accident occurred eleven hours before the incident when the operators attempted to repair a blockage in one of the condensate polishers that never became successful. The accident occurred because of failures recorded within the non-nuclear secondary system and in the stuck – open expert operated relief valve within the primary system (Ford, 1982). The faults led to the escape of a large amount of nuclear reactor coolant; cooling water surrounding the ore. Due to loss of the coolant water, temperature of the ore rose drastically until it finally melted thus leading the release of radioactive materials.
The mechanical failures within the plant were complicated by earlier failure of plant technicians to identify the condition as loss of coolant mishap. Such a failure occurred due to inadequate training as well as human factors including human- computer operation lapses leading to ambiguous control room indicators within the user interface of the power plant. Particularly, a hidden indicator light misled the operators to assume the warnings since they believed in the presence of too much coolant water, in the reactor (Walker, 2004). The false information from the light indicator made it hard for the operators to diagnose the problem until after several hours when major damage had happened. The assumption contributed to release of steam pressure thereby causing the accident.
Since the operators lacked training on the knowledge of the pilot operated relief valve (PORV), they never understood the ambiguous form of the PORV thus could not identify the problem and correct it as early as possible to prevent occurrence of the accident. Moreover, the operators ignored the alarm sounding presence of a malfunction and this aggravated the problem (Adamson, 1981). It was not until a shift change in the operators that unusual function of the plant was clearly noticed. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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