The Lessons of Three Mile Island

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On March 28th, 1979, the nearly new Unit 2 at the Three Mile Island nuclear plant in Pennsylvania suffered a meltdown. This was an exceedingly expensive industrial casualty. The plant was a multi-billion dollar write off. The nuclear establishment did much finger pointing, soul searching, and hand wringing.

Two major semi-independent reports were published: the Kemeny Report and the Rogovin Report. They claimed to have learned a number of important lessons. This note compares the lessons they should have been learned, with the lessons that were learned. In writing this piece, I had essential help from Mike Derivan, one of the players in this drama. However, any errors are my sole responsibility and Mike does not necessarily agree with my conclusions.

I strongly suggest that anybody who wants to learn more about Three Mile Island go to Derivan’s web site

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