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Nuclear Power, Getting Perspective - Three Mile Island

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It is wonderful how many "experts" seem to come out of the wood when the subject of nuclear reactors comes up.

Now that the U.S. is finally poised to again build new nuclear power plants, the opposition will be loud and strong.

You might want to learn some actual facts about nuclear power before deciding where you stand.

The Three Mile Island accident stopped the construction of new nuclear power plants in the U.S. despite the fact that it actually showed how safe even the old nuclear reactors actually are.

Even in the worst civilian reactor disaster in U.S. history (Three Mile Island), there were fewer deaths than in the coal mine I once worked in, or the recent natural gas generating plant accident.)

In fact, there were no deaths among plant employees OR nearby residents during the TMI accident.

Of course there were all those terrible radiation burns and other injuries which affected exactly ZERO, nada, NO people.

http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/fact-sheets/3mile-isle.html

So, the absolute worst civilian nuclear accident caused NO deaths and NO injuries.

WOW, that must mean those old nuclear power plants were really, REALLY dangerous.

But, what about the cancer caused in the residents?

Actually residents of the area who got the worst radiation exposure from the venting incident were exposed to about one-third the amount they get from natural background radiation.

If you were near the worst civilian nuclear reactor disaster EVER, you would be safer than if you had gotten a couple of medical X-rays using the technology of the day.

According to The Washington Post, "September 1, 1990 A major independent review led by a Columbia University epidemiologist found no evidence that radioactivity released during the accident caused any increase in cancer incidence during the six-year period immediately afterward."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/national/longterm/tmi/stories/study090190.htm

Anyone wishing to learn about reactors which are actually being built today are directed to
http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/inf08.html for the basic information about the Westinghouse (now actually Toshiba and Shaw) AP600, AP1000, SWR-1000, and other late Generation III reactors.

Anyone wanting the complete picture of what happened at TMI should read ALL the documents at Dickinson College's TMI web site. http://www.threemileisland.org/

Basically, the accident at TMI was only a PR disaster. The operators and owners of the plant failed to properly inform the governor and Washington about the situation and the government didn't react correctly.

John McCormick is a reporter, /science/medical columnist and finance and social commentator, with 17,000+ bylined stories. Contact John through NewsBlaze.

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