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Three Mile Island In the 1970s nuclear power was becoming the new energy trend in the United States Nuclear power plants were being constructed across the nation Although it had its critics nuclear power was generally viewed as the new safe source of power for the future It was much less pollutant than coal power and could produce a great deal more energy Three Mile Island was the first to prove that nuclear power is not safe Kraushaar In a nuclear power plant energy is released in the reactor fuel as a result of nuclear fission Moss Most of the radioactivity in a power plant originates in the fission process Moss A release of fission products is possible if the core were to melt due to lack of cooling Moss However all nuclear power plants in the United States are equipped with emergency core cooling systems and a sequence of barriers to prevent the escape of fission products Moss There are two types of nuclear power plants used in the United States boiling water reactors and pressurized water reactors Hinrichs In both kinds steam is used to turn a turbogenerator to produce electricity Moss In a boiling water reactor the reactor itself produces steam while in a pressurized water reactor the steam is produced in a steam generator Moss Three Mile Island is an example of a pressurized water reactor Kaku March 28 1979 began much like every other morning at Three Mile Island However at exactly 400 am something went wrong Burton The main feedwater pump in the Unit-2 reactor tripped stopping heat removal from the primary system Burton This caused the temperature in the primary coolant to rise in turn causing the reactor to shut down automatically Burton The operators at the plant were unable to adequately respond to the shutdown of the reactor Burton A relief valve on the reactor cooling system remained open leaking coolant water to the
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