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In the mid-1950s nuclear physicists confidently predicted that nuclear energy would usher in a new age for humanity The cost of energy would be so low it would be almost too cheap to meter They predicted that by the year 2000 there would be thousands of commercial reactors producing unlimited amounts of power Like the horse and buggy oil and coal would become little more than historical curiosities With such a bright outlook for the future the engineers and scientists started to get careless Then on March 28 1979 an event took place that rocked the nuclear power industry so badly that it has yet to recover That event was the partial meltdown of one of the reactor cores at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant in Londonderry Township Pennsylvania The accident at Three Mile Island was a combination of equipment failures design problems and human error It was even more that though it was a complacent attitude that the industry had as a whole as Harold Denton former Nuclear Regulatory Commission official said We thought the plant was too well designed to have a serious accident It was kind of like the TitanicCNN It may surprise some people to find out how close we came to a major disaster and the shear amount of problems that occurred To understand what went wrong you first need to understand how a nuclear power plant works At the heart or every plant is its radioactive core The core is a nuclear furnace creating heat by the splitting of atoms during a controlled chain reaction Control rods that are raised and lowered into the core to control the rate the atoms split and there by controlling the amount to heat produced To slow down the reaction the rods are lowered into the core to speed it up they are raised or taken out of the core Surrounding the core is the water in the primary loop This
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