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Radiation Leak at Three Mile Island

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posted on Nov, 23 2009 @ 04:53 AM
Anytime there is a radiation leak at any facility, whether for energy use or research, it is a serious matter and needs a thorough investigation. This incident at 3 Mile Island is no different. I am pretty sure the Feds are going to investigate this one, perhaps the Department of Energy and maybe OSHA? This one can't be swept up under the rug, because exposure to radiation can kill people! I am sure those workers are on pins and needles after knowing there was a leak, and that they have been exposed to radiation. If the levels of exposure were as low as they say, why were they abruptly sent home and not allowed to finish their work?

Something happened there, and Exelon is hush about the affair. Remember, that the same facility put the United States on edge when it almost had a melt down in the 70's. Hopefully, they get to the bottom of this and that it is just a minor leak as they say. I know those opposed to nuclear power are going to run with this thing to stop any construction of new reactors as they have since 3 Mile Island. From what I have read and heard, nuclear power is rather safe and sufficient and could alleviate some of our energy woes. So, hopefully, an honest investigation is conducted to find out what happened, because we don't need to go down this road.

posted on Nov, 23 2009 @ 06:23 AM

If the levels of exposure were as low as they say, why were they abruptly sent home and not allowed to finish their work?

According to Exelon, they sent them home because they are not allowed to work in a contaminated environment.

This one can't be swept up under the rug, because exposure to radiation can kill people!

16 millirem can't. According to people in the industry it's very normal.

[edit on 23/11/2009 by C0bzz]

posted on Nov, 23 2009 @ 06:29 AM
post made by RobinB022

I have a friend who works,or worked there-don't know if he still does.He used me as a reference when he initially put in his resume and they called me asking a LOT of questions-as you can imagine-even asking me if he were a drinker,or had any .. ANY issues that I knew of.Great detail was taken and they kept me on the phone going over the same questions-I think trying to maybe catch me in a lie... or just being very careful.

They also did a psychological eval on him and other tests.I guess they don't just let anyone work there.

I was living in York and worked in Middletown, during the near meltdown in 1979. I worked outside at the time and, if my memory serves me correctly, the public was not alerted until the NEXT day!!!

Twenty-eight hours after the accident began, Lt. Gov. William W. Scranton appeared at a news briefing to say that Metropolitan Edison, the plant's owner, had assured the state that "everything is under control". Later that day, Scranton changed his statement, saying that the situation was "more complex than the company first led us to believe". There were conflicting statements about radiation releases. Schools were closed and residents were urged to stay indoors. Farmers were told to keep their animals under cover and on stored feed.


I was OUTSIDE during the entire incident!! Right across the river, mine you....and they really down played it!

A good friend of mine, also, worked there - when they were building the reactors at TMI. He was a big time doper and drinker......and he was an engineer that work on the construction of TMI!! Don't know what to say about someone else's friend working there and undergoing extensive background testing. Maybe, because he just built the dam place, he was not subjected to these extreme measures???

Radiation Leak at Three Mile Island

A misreading by one of the engineers on duty compounded with a series of equipment and instrument malfunctions led to a dangerous loss of water coolant from the reactor core. As a result, the reactor core was partially exposed, which led to some radioactive gases escaping into the containment section of the reactor building. Though some of this radiation was released into the surrounding area, no immediate deaths or injuries occurred.


According to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission's independent Rogovin Commission Report, we were a mere half an hour away from an irreversible meltdown as described in The China Syndrome. In fact, over 90% of the reactor core was damaged, 52% had melted down, and the containment building in which the reactor is located as well as several other locations around the plant were contaminated. In the end officials were able to restore enough coolant to the reactor core to prevent a complete meltdown and the #2 reactor at TMI was shut down permanently.


At 6:56 a.m. a plant supervisor declared a site emergency, and less than half an hour later station manager Gary Miller announced a general emergency, defined as having the "potential for serious radiological consequences" to the general public.

BUT - the public was not warned as to how serious this really was....The experts had said an accident like the one at Three Mile Island could not happen, and initially described it as a "minor malfunction". Twenty-eight hours after the accident began - Lt. Gov. William W. Scranton appeared at a news briefing to say that Metropolitan Edison, the plant's owner, had assured the state that "everything is under control".

Needless to say, I do not believe much of ANYTHING the Government has to say about such things!!

[edit on 11/23/2009 by Champagne]

posted on Nov, 23 2009 @ 06:30 AM
reply to post by C0bzz

Well, that seems to explain it then. However, I would like to know what happened as well as the people in the surrounding areas. Perhaps, it is nothing and perhaps not? Therefore, a thorough investigation is in order, regardless. Anytime a leak happens it should be looked in on. Not an in-house investigation, but one done by a third party, therefore, to avoid a conflict of interest. Thanks for the response.

posted on Nov, 23 2009 @ 12:25 PM
When an incident like this occurs someone is notified and it turns up across the country in the communications to people engaged in the trade. Just like Crane accidents there is a communications link nationwide and world wide in order to help prevent further accidents by education.

DOE and NRC are required to be notified. Huge stacks of paperwork are generated out of incidents like this.

Once I stated before...most of the talk is about radiation..not contamination levels. True..contaminated particles give off radiation but they are handled differently from radiation. Contaminated particles must be cleaned up or decontaminated by trained procedures unless it is fixed contamination in the metals themselves.

Contamination readings are done differently from radiation readings and conversions are made in the data to reflect contamination amounts.

Also..depending on the amount of contamination...further controls are put in to place. The more contamination..the higher the control levels become to handle the seriousness of these levels.

Most of these articles speak of radiation levels..not contamination levels. Also they are not specific as to whether anyone got crapped out internally.

They would send these workers home because they would only be standing around uselessly. The only ones remaining would be those with specific information's as to what happened in the investigation ...which could take a long time while they are shut down.

I think the allowed radiation levels for these workers was some 2000 mr per year. That is two rads. Not really alot.
US Navy levels allowed are some 5 rads or 5000 mr per year.

These levels can be raised under certain conditions and under review if necessary.

In the olde days people used to pick up alot more. Before they knew better and had developed the procedures and techniques they have today. In those days alot of these people died young.

Neutron is not the only ionizing radiation out there. There are others.

Ever stick a neon light bulb up to a antenna while transmitting about 25 watts or more and watch it energize/light up the gas in the tube.
How much power do you think all these cell phone and pager towers are putting out? Guess where they are putting many of these towers here in this town?? On school yards next to our children. Also in public parks.


posted on Nov, 23 2009 @ 12:54 PM
Just for the purposes of remembering the past here is an article re: the original melt down.

MeltdownRemembering the Three Mile Island

Thirty years ago, the word "meltdown" was seared into the American consciousness when the Unit 2 reactor at the Three Mile Island nuclear plant near Harrisburg, PA melted the radioactive fuel rods in the core of the reactor and began leaking radiation into the environment in the early morning hours of March 28, 1979.

Radiation leaked from the damaged reactor for days as government regulators scrambled to get radiation monitoring equipment into surrounding communities. The Governor of Pennsylvania eventually ordered an evacuation of pregnant women and children. The accident at Three Mile Island sent the nuclear industry into a tailspin. Already staggering under the weight of over $100 billion dollars in cost overruns, the meltdown showed Americans that not only was nuclear power expensive - it was also dangerous. The nuclear industry turned a multi-million dollar asset into a multi-billion dollar liability overnight, and demonstrated that both the government and industry were thoroughly unprepared for the accident and its aftermath.

posted on Nov, 23 2009 @ 06:26 PM
reply to post by Champagne

Don't know what to say about someone else's friend working there and undergoing extensive background testing. Maybe, because he just built the dam place, he was not subjected to these extreme measures???

This friend worked INside the plant..

and I agree with you,I don't trust them either.. of course they are not going to tell the public everything.Can you imagine the fear..

Now,maybe this was NOT a HUGE deal,but it is serious.It's always serious.It's always scary.

posted on Nov, 24 2009 @ 12:43 AM

I dont think some of you have any idea how much nasty stuff is running around your rivers. Ports, and in your bays/harbors.
How many chemicals are transported and around your towns and cities in large tank cars..both railroad and tractor trailer?? You might want to think about this a bit more before going ballistic on us.

Do any of you like to fly..intercontinental as well as transcontinental??
You people have no idea how often, in a training exercise, a jet fighter locks up an airliner or air freighter on radar and does a simulated run and attack, including the launch sequence to the impact. This has been going on for over 50 years now that I know of. Not only our airplanes but the planes of other nations do this as well. They do this from miles and miles away..the airliners never know they have been locked up on radar.

Same with a submarine. They do simulated tracking, lock up and torpedo run sequences in simulation ..just like the airliners...but on transports and other ships out at sea. They never know a U-boat has painted them in it's crosshairs.

Gives you the warm fuzzies doesnt it??

Some of you seem to live in a very different world from the one I know.
Some of you must get alot of nipple behind your remote controllers and telephone keypads.

I live next to Norfolk, Virginia. Do any of you have any idea how many operating nuclear reactors are in this area at any one time?? Think about it some time.
There is also a shipyard here where all the nations Nuclear Aircraft Carriers are born. Every once in awhile they bring a newly operating reactor on line. Two of them are in these large Nuclear powered Carriers. They also build Nuclear Submarines and these boats also have a reactor on them.

Any of you live close to Bangor, Washington..or Everett, Washington??
How about Groton or New London, Conn. San Diego??? Pearl Harbor??

While it has been awhile since I looked at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on google earth...I counted some 11 688 class submarines there between the piers and drydocks. That is 11 reactors in tiny Pearl Harbor. Are you people getting the warm fuzzys yet??

Get a grip people!!


[edit on 24-11-2009 by orangetom1999]

posted on Nov, 24 2009 @ 08:13 AM
To be honest I don't see what an accident 30 years old has anything to do with this. The Fossil fuel industry must love some of you guys.

The accident at Three Mile Island sent the nuclear industry into a tailspin.

It was in decline before then. And the Nuclear Industry today, in the United States is once again expanding.

the meltdown showed Americans that not only was nuclear power expensive

In just 5 years Nuclear Power Plants went from being completed at 500 million dollars each, to over 5 billion dollars each. It would be unfair to criticize Nuclear Power for being expensive, when other factors (like the NRC) caused the rising prices. Looks at Shoreham Nuclear Plant for example. I don't want to sound like a salesman here, but today Nuclear Energy provides the most reliable, emissions free, and some of the cheapest electricity in the United States. Planned reactors are very expensive, but they also will generate huge amounts of electricity. In terms of per unit of capacity (and electricity generated), Nuclear generally will kill most forms competition in prices. This has not been demonstrated (yet) in the United States, but it has in other countries.

Hyperion and Babcock & Wilcox in the United States are working at getting the capital costs for Nuclear Power down, so utilities won't have to pay billions of dollars before the plant even opens. B&W is the company that makes Nuclear Reactors for the US Navy, and are furthermore light-years ahead of competition in systems involving steam. Anyway, these new reactors are smaller, generate less electricity, much safer, sold at a fixed price and overall much more readily affordable with far less risk. Details in the previous links.

- it was also dangerous.

The TMI in accident in 1979 directly killed exactly ZERO people. Radioactive materials were released which were relatively benign (Noble Gases do not react). Some studies indicate an increased incidence of Leukemia, however the link is difficult to justify given the increase in radioactivity is undetectable. Meanwhile, of course, coal burning kills 30,000 Americans each year, thousands of Coal miners each year, furthermore, wind is no saint either. In conclusion, Nuclear Energy is only dangerous in the minds of the irrational minded, the fossil fuel industry, and the misled.

The nuclear industry turned a multi-million dollar asset into a multi-billion dollar liability overnight, and demonstrated that both the government and industry were thoroughly unprepared for the accident and its aftermath.

Reactors in the United States are making close to a 2 million dollar profit per day. Sounds like it fits the definition of an asset quiet well.


Before conducting any cutting, radiation health specialists would have surveyed the pipes to ensure there were no surprisingly high readings indicating a concentration of activated corrosion products, but it would never be a surprise to find that the inside of the piping had higher than background levels of contamination. The pipes in the primary coolant system carry very hot water through a system of metal pipes and through a nuclear reactor. Inevitably, there will be some amount of corrosion inside the pipes and some of that corrosion would have been exposed to neutrons in the core and become activated. Nukes have a rather cute name for the corrosion found inside primary pipes - we call it CRUD. (Which happens to be an acronym for Chalk River Unidentified Deposits.)

People working in the maintenance area would generally be suited up in anti-contamination clothing, wearing gloves and rubber overshoes, hoods and face/eye protection. There was most likely an area outside the work boundaries where people would not be suited up. The people who were not in anti-c's would have been the primary people of concern when the radiation monitor indicated that there was some airborne contamination.

All of the work was taking place inside the reactor containment building. According to the NRC Event posting, no contamination was found outside of the reactor building. The highest dose received by any worker was 40 mrem. To put that in context, the locally assigned annual limit for an occupational nuclear worker is 2,000 mrem. The legal annual limit is 5,000 mrem. It is not unusual for a nuclear worker to receive more than 40 mrem during routine maintenance work involving primary system piping. Heck, I got more than that during several reactor compartment inspection tours when I was not even doing any system work and I was careful to avoid hot spots.

Also, I want to point out, TMI-1 has been performing extremely well recently. Last year it had an overall capacity factor of 106.7%, the second best in the US. It's over 100% because the heatsink was cooler than what it is rated at.

"The capacity factor of a power plant is the ratio of the actual output of a power plant over a period of time and its output if it had operated at full nameplate capacity the entire time."


reply to post by Jakes51

That's a movie. Not real.

[edit on 24/11/2009 by C0bzz]

posted on Nov, 25 2009 @ 02:25 AM
reply to post by C0bzz

Wow C0bzz,

Pretty much on the mark with your articles quoted. Thanks for that.

As for cutting pipes..there are several ways it is done but always careful monitoring of both radiation and contamination levels throughout the whole process is done.

One interesting way pipes are sometimes cut when they are smaller diameter is to use a liquid nitrogen freeze seal. Liquid nitrogen is dangerously cold and care must be used in handling and setting up such a system. One or both sides of the pipe cut are freeze sealed and then the pipe is cut and the work done or faulty sections and valves replaced. It takes awhile to carry out a job like this...planning, getting the proper materials to the job, Briefiings..even sometimes mock up training before hand to see how a job might go. Also paperwork is often traced to see if this particular pipe or valve has been worked before...a work history. This also shows how the previous job was done.

It is pretty involved and planned right down to the small details. You dont want to cut the pipe open and then find you have made a mistake and dont have everything you need...all the time picking up more radiation or being around more potential contamination....because now you have to come back to the job ...again. Alot of people have to be on board to do certain kinds of jobs like this. Alot of careful planning goes into it. A freeze seal must be kept in place until the pipe is repaired...completed.

Something like those steam generator replacement jobs would have been planned and scheduled well ahead...even contingency plans put into place as well.

Anti-C clothing is exactly correct. The extent of the clothing needed depends on the paraticular job. The surveys done and levels anticipated...determine the levels of Anti C precautions required.
for low levels it would often be just gloves. As the levels ratchet up it might be ..say armsleeves and gloves..or armsleeves and double gloves.
Even up to resperators..or breathing apparatus..hood fed or full suits with hood fed air. Ive seen people in these full suits like the Pillsbury dough boy..only in bright yellow. Often it is a special qualification to wear a suit like that. and obviously one cannot be claustrophobic in that type of equipment.

Correct again on the corrosion and wear products called CRUD.
The CRUD I have seen looks like a fine gray silt..sort of like a fine dark gray lapping compound...silt like. Except that this stuff is Smoking Mon!!!

It tends to have a high count on it. You clean it up quickly and dispose of it...change your gloves carefully so as not to spread it.
Glove changes are standard training and are done similar to what is done in biological hazards. Carefully.. so as to not spread or contaminate yourself for anything else. Takes awhile to get used to it. You dont want to be bringing any of these nastys home through your own carelessness.

2000mr is 2r or 2 Rads.
5000mr is 5r or 5 Rads.

40 mr is not that much.

Time, Distance, and Shielding from the source.
This is the basic outliine for exposure.

Time for which one is exposed

Distance from the sourse of the radiation

Shielding between you and the source of radiation

Good post you have done here C0bzz.

Thanks for that,

posted on Nov, 25 2009 @ 03:38 AM
When i was in the navy i moonlighted a couple times at San Onofre doing hot work a couple times.
Real good pay for less then a days work.

Spend the morning training to do something like removing group of bolt while in a full hazmat suit with a air hose type breathing system.

Then in the afternoon go into a hot area and sprend 10-30 minites doing the job for real.
We would make about 35 dollars a hour for the 8 hour day (about three week navy pay in 1971)and only pick up about the same inside the suit radiation dose as 2 chest X-rays.(gamma) (i borrowed an dosimeter from the ship to be sure.)outside the suit was about three times higher.(alpha beta and gamma)

The company that ran San Onofre just loved us navy guys as we had security clearances, knew how to work with tools, and had been trained by the navy in nuclear radiation procedures.

Later the navy found out. and we were banned from doing it.

[edit on 25-11-2009 by ANNED]

posted on Nov, 25 2009 @ 08:22 AM

TMI Safe: Normal Outage Work At Three Mile Island Resumes

Outage workers at Three Mile Island Unit 1 who were sent home Saturday evening returned to work Sunday and today and normal outage work has resumed. About 150 workers stationed in the containment building of TMI Unit 1, which was shut down nearly a month ago for a planned refueling outage and steam generator replacement, were sent home late Saturday afternoon when monitors detected small amounts of airborne radiological contamination inside the containment building.

“Things are back to normal,” Site Vice President Bill Noll said. “We are back performing outage activities as we had originally planned.”

Outage work not associated with the containment building involving more than 3,000 other plant and temporary workers continued throughout the weekend. No contamination was found outside the containment building and the event never posed a threat to the health or safety of employees or the public.

Nuclear Street.

posted on Nov, 25 2009 @ 11:28 AM
reply to post by ANNED


Sounds like they had you suited up in full wet suit. It can be pretty rough in one of those suits..but you are correct. The pay us much better than Navy pay.

They dont like us doing stuff like that here as well. Makes it difficult to monitor your dose here locally if you are working elsewhere and getting dosed.

They trained you in the suit and the job...probably a mock up as your time in the area would be limited.
A wet suit means it is "smoking mon."

I have seen the video of the Three Mile Island accident and also the one of Chernobyl reactor and what happened.

The word here is that Chernobyl went from some very very low power setting to some 1500% power in about 4 seconds causing it to blow its guts out. What a know what!! Also no containment building or structure over the reactor vessel at Chernobyl as required here stateside.

Those poor guys who volunteered to go in and put stuff on top of the pile.
They had to pick up more than their lifetime dose...just getting to the job site. I still see the video in my mind of that guy hovering that helicopter over the puked out pile while someone dumped stuff out the back to cover it. He had No Chance.


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