Wednesday, March 28, 2007

I forgot an anniversary

Today is the 28th anniversary of the accident at Three Mile Island. I was in tenth grade at the time, and remember that all of us were glued to the local news (there was no CNN). A local newsanchor at the time, a guy named Richard Seneca, got a bit of a thrill from the knowledge that Dan Rather was watching him on TV. I wonder what ever happened to Seneca.

My sixth grade class toured Three Mile Island, and a couple of my classmates kept asking the tour guides what would happen if there were an accident. The adults all told us that an accident was impossible.

Maps which depicted how far certain communities where to the island were everywhere, and etched in everyone's memories for quite awhile. We were living just outside Harrisburg, which I believe is within ten miles. Our school district did not close, and we did not leave, but some people did.

Nuclear power would be a great solution, IF the risk of accidents could be completely removed.


Tan Lucy Pez said...

I haven't been paying attention to the anniversary of TMI. It didn't really scare me much at the time. But that's because I was so dumb. It really came close to a melt down.

tsduff said...

Very interesting post today. Mankind lucked out.

BTW - congrats on your new job situation. Hope you continue to happier with less. I'm working on that concept myself.

Bone said...

Wow, you were really close. We have a nuclear plant about 45 minutes from here. There are little "evacuation route" signs all around. Or used to be. I don't recall seeing them lately.

The Lazy Iguana said...

Nuke plants are usually safe. At least the design the USA uses. I think the cause was several very stupid things done one after the other.

Nukes are not really all that great. Yea, they produce "zero carbon" but this is not really true.

1. hundreds of tons of ore needs to be mined to get a small amount of uranium.

2. The ore then has to be crushed, uranium separated from rock, and so on.

3. The uranium then needs to be "enriched" so that it will work in a reactor.

4. Spent fuel rods are super hot and need to be safely stored for thousands of hears (the half life on some stuff from reactors is 100,000 years or something crazy)

5. Where to store the stuff? Underground? Better find a place with stable geology and non porous rock! And dig deep tunnels. Using heavy machinery.

All of the above uses oil. So "zero carbon" suddenly amounts to a lot of oil investment.

Balou said...

We've got one about 10 miles away and another one 80 miles away. It's scary to think what could happen.

Cheesemeister said...

I believe I was in 6th grade too. I remember the whole cold war era/fear of nukes/nuclear power plants. I was always terrified of dying of either a nuclear bomb or a nuclear accident from Rocky Flats.

Diesel said...

There are risks involved in any kind of power generation. The risks associated with spewing poisons into the atmosphere are just more evenly distributed.

BTW, you are a finalist in my caption contest!

Logophile said...

I would have asked that same question on that tour.

Jocelyn said...

28 years. Wow. I liked reading your personal connection to that place.

pia said...

Nuclear power works well in at least France and Germany because they do it correctly--safely

I spent two years working on the Washington Public Power Safety Supply case--largest muni bond default in US history, and reading the documents scared me out of ever thinking we could do this well

Thanks for the reminder

Doug said...

You can never entirely remove the risk of accidents, but I'd accept new nuclear plants if they'd just eliminate lying tour guides.

Jamie Dawn said...

People really should be careful about saying that something is "impossible." Impossible things end up happening sometimes.
It's hard to believe there was a time without 24 hour news coverage. No CNN?? How is THAT possible?? :) We managed to survive without it, didn't we? We also got by without cell phones, Play Station, laptops, and ipods.

AP3 said...

Rabbit, rabbit!