The 3 Mile Island core meltdown was contained!

the Three Mile Island meltdown caused no significant environmental degradation or increased injury to any person, not even the plant operators who stayed on duty. It has been said that this lack of public impact was due primarily to the containment structure. But studies after the accident showed that nearly all of the harmful emission products dissolved in the water and condensed out on the inside of containment surfaces. Even if containment had been severely breached, little radioactivity would have escaped. Few, if any, persons would have been harmed.

To test how far the 10 to 20 metric tons of molten reactor penetrated the 13 cm thick bottom of the reactor vessel on which it rested, samples were machined out of the vessel and examined. The molten mass did not even fully penetrate the 0.5 cm cladding, confirming tests in Karlsruhe, Germany, and in Idaho, that the China Syndrome is not a credible possibility.

The accident at Chernobyl in 1986 is simply not applicable to American reactors. [ eg the GE designed reactors in question in Japan ] The burning graphite dispersed most of the fission products directly into the atmosphere. Even in that situation, with no evacuation for several days, the United Nations carefully documented investigation UNSCEAR-2000 reported that there were 30 deaths to plant operators and firefighters but no significant increase in mortality or cancer due to irradiation of the public have been observed.โ€

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7 Responses to The 3 Mile Island core meltdown was contained!

  1. Pingback: 3 Mile Island

  2. 35.000 liquidators…
    Thousands of children with cancer and mutations…

    But it is a wide way from Australia to Tschernobyl.

    Please talk to west european doctors that have been there and still see the real consequences.

    • Eclipse Now says:

      Why don’t you just click your ruby slippers together 3 times and say “There’s no place like Chernobyl, there’s no place like Chernobyl”! Then maybe you’ll get what you want, an impossible melt down of the reactor containment dome in Japan, which is what this post is actually about! There was no containment dome at Chernobyl, get it?

      Then at least read the wiki on the Chernobyl disaster and you’ll see:
      1. There was no containment dome at Chernobyl. But the Japanese reactors have state of the art containment domes (for 40 years ago anyway), and as a last resort a melt down of the reactors will be controlled as a safety feature! In such a horrific event the uranium lava flow would pool and spread on the floor, thinning and preventing the reaction, cooling it. This would also contain the waste, preventing disaster.
      2. The immediate Chernobyl fatalities are estimated to be less than 100, and the longer term increases in cancer seem extremely hard to estimate. Only agenda driven ‘studies’ by anti-nuclear activists place these longer term deaths above 4000.
      3. If you knew anything about modern reactors you’d know about ‘Neutron Leak’ which makes melt down impossible.

      My own son had Leukaemia a few years back, and watching him suffer under chemotherapy was something I don’t think I will ever recover from. If anyone has the emotional right to scream “Protect the kids!” it’s me. I am extremely sympathetic to those parents who saw their kids get thyroid cancer after Chernobyl.

      But that does not mean it is easy to separate out Chernobyl cancers from normal background cancers!!! Many doctors have been influenced by the rabid rantings of Helen Caldicott, as if radiation from any nuclear power plant is worse than the chemical crap we put in most plastics, or uranium emitted from coal fired power stations. I’d much rather live next door to a modern Gen3 reactor that has passive cooling safety measures (like ‘Neutron Leak’) built into the fuel rods themselves than next to a coal plant! Why don’t you investigate why lung cancer rates in the NSW Hunter Valley, our wine growing district way outside the ‘big smoke’ of Sydney, has a lung cancer rate 3 times that of polluted, smoggy Sydney!? There’s uranium in that thar coal!

      Finally, I’d love some sort of ‘super-battery’ 100 times cheaper and with 100 times more storage to be invented, as only then would we be able to power a renewable grid. But until then, nuclear is all we have. Not only is coal poisoning us and killing exponentially more people each year than Chernobyl, and I don’t hear you ranting against coal!, but it causes global warming, pollution, and in a few decades we’ll hit peak coal. We’ll have used up all the cheap stuff, and be into the declining arc of ever more expensive, ever dirtier coal.

      So here’s the deal. Even if nuclear technology hadn’t progressed past these Gen2 reactors in Japan, I’d still be in favour of it, because it’s all we’ve got to keep the lights on and our farms growing food and this thing we call civilisation intact! But the good news is Gen3 reactors are exponentially safer than Gen2, and Gen4 is the REAL game changer that is nearly here.

      • You still forgott the thousands of people that had to clean up the mess.
        Where are those gone?

        I nevercompared Tschernobyl to Japan.
        You just dont get the seriousness of the situation.
        Try to read something else rhan pro nuclear propaganda.

      • Since you like reading wikipedia…

        …60,000 dead (10% of the 600 000, liquidators) and 165,000 disabled.

        In Austrian hospitals we do have connections to Tschernobyl.
        We do see what happens to people that live there, lived there, returned there, eat products from the area,….

        You know I love the kitegen…
        1-60GWe plants…
        They are much nearer than Gen4 plants.
        Have you seen the 3.5MW Prototype already?

        Here are my culminated links.

      • Eclipse Now says:

        We have 300 reactor years with breeder reactors. How many KiteGen years do they have with 1gig kitegen? ๐Ÿ˜‰

        That liquidator wiki cites no peer reviewed studies. It all sounds horrific, but why in particular do you cite 60 thousand over the many other lower estimates? It’s a grab bag of quotes by largely angry physicians, burnt out by the horrific Communist legacy of stuff ups and misinformation. Maybe they have a right to exaggerate their claims after what they’ve seen, but I’d prefer to stick with more peer reviewed work by less subjective sources.

  3. Lance Ponder says:

    There were a couple of big differences in Chernobyl. One, as you mentioned, was poor containment construction. The other is that the core itself suffered a direct explosion. As a result of that uncontained explosion the raw core material (the hottest of the radioactive material) went into the atmosphere to become fallout. It was a chemical explosion, but the explosion took place inside the core and was not contained.

    TMI was a completely different matter altogether. It hardly compares. There was no explosion at TMI. There was a steam bubble in the core that the operators didn’t interpret correctly until damage was done. It was contained and there was no explosion. There was some core damage, but the nasties never left the primary cooling system and little left the core.

    It is too early to fully know the details of the situation in Japan. There are pros and cons to cooling a “melted” core. The pro is the actual cooling effect. Keeping the temperature down will prevent additional damage. Sea water is terrible for an operational reactor, but at this point it makes little difference because the entire system is down. The con to cooling is that water actually reflects the neutrons allowing additional fission activity. Cool water actually generates core activity resulting in more heat. When there is no water, the neutrons do not cause substantial fission and the loss of nuclear geometry causes an end to the heat generating activity. The metal remains hot, however, and may continue to deform and allow highly active contaminants into the water (or atmosphere if exposed).

    The key is containment of the water/steam. If the bad stuff never makes it out of the building, there can only be a limited amount of radiation leakage outside the facility. There is a profound and vital difference between radiation and contamination. When particles from the damaged core are carried by water or steam out of the facility, those particles emit radiation to the outside environment. Chernobyl caused a direct release of particles high into the atmosphere in the flash-steam and debris particles blown high into the atmosphere. Chernobyl was not a “nuclear explosion” which is to say it was not a fission or fusion explosion, however the way contaminated particles went into the atmosphere mimics very closely the effects of a ground detonation of a fission bomb. Japan’s reactor plant explosions will only be similar if the core and its immediate containment are breached and there is a substantial release of contaminants into the atmosphere. Even if it does, most of the bad stuff will blow out to sea.

    It is also worth noting that fallout, whether from a bomb or a Chernobyl type explosion, is only substantially dangerous for a matter of days. The big concern is from secondary fission products that continue to alpha and beta decay rapidly. Uranium contaminants will only offer low level radiation after the daughter products decay away. It takes a high concentration of uranium to present a health risk. Alpha decay is only a danger if it enters the lungs or bloodstream. Beta decay can be dangerous on the skin or close to the body. Only the fissioning uranium will emit neutrons – the most dangerous ionizing agent. Gammas are also released and the initial gamma burst is also part of the ionizing radiation that goes far and passes through solid objects. Water, metal, concrete, and other materials reduce the amount of radiation. Distance also reduces the amount by a square of the distance. The radiation from a nuclear explosion is most dangerous during the explosion due to the neutron release at the time of the explosion, not from the fallout. Fallout is only a problem when ingested, breathed in, or coating the skin. This is why spending a couple of weeks indoors, preferably below ground level, will greatly reduce potential health effects from fallout.

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