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Three Mile Island

An engineering analysis of the breakdown and ethics of the TMI incident.

Jarrod Collins

on 21 April 2010

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Transcript of Three Mile Island

Double click anywhere & add an idea Three Mile Island Reactor 2 Accident Stuck valve lead to meltdown and release of radioactive material Chain of Events: Mechanical failure of main feedwater pump Emergency shutdown reactor continued to generate decay heat due to no coolant Three auxilary pumps were activated Failure and unethical behavior: the pumps were closed for maintenance
violation of the NRC ( Nuclear Regulatory Commission) rules Pilot operated relief valve (PORV) opened to let off pressure human error - a warning light that meant that power to the PORV went out was misinterperated that the PORV had closed
confusion set in - the light implied that the valve was shut but it wasn't
instruments read temperature and pressure values that showed PORV was still open - engineers ignored this data Steam formed in coolant as the pressure decreased from PORV No instruments read system coolant level
Workers misjuedged and said it was running coolant normally
Workers shut off emergency core cooling pumps
Coolant escaped from PORV PORV discharge tank overflowed and ruptured
radioactive coolant poured into containment building
Heat from lack of coolant caused core to be exposed
Steam reacted with fuel rod coating Radioactivity leaked into the coolant New shift realized what was going on
Effects: 32,000 gallons of coolant leaked into facility Radiation levels of coolant were 300 times greater than expected 13 million curies of radioactive noble gasses were released - relatively harmless Only 13 to 17 curies of thyroid cancer inducing Iodine-131 was released Ethical Issues
shutting off auxilary valves
misinterpretting the PORV light
not seeking help when confussion arose Future
TMI 1 liscensed to operate until 2034
TMI 2 generator being relocated to Shearon Harris Nuclear Plant in New Hill, NC
Three mile island accident. Wikipedia. Retrieved (2010, April 20) from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_Mile_Island_accident Azevedo, M., & Groleau, R. (n.d.). Meltdown at three mile island. Retrieved from http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/three/ References
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