We promise not to go nuts on TMI stories – could look like a plea for expiation, which isn’t really needed – but here’s a good write-up on TMI yesterday and today by an NEI staffer, Tom Kauffman, who worked at TMI at the time of the accident and went back there recently as a media representative:
The accident also forever changed the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. “The TMI-2 accident had the greatest impact on nuclear generation of any single event in history,” the agency said in a recent news release.
“The public’s memories of the TMI accident will certainly fade over time,” I told the editor, “but as long as nuclear plants operate in the United States, the people who operate, maintain and regulate them will always be mindful of their responsibility to stay vigilant and focused on safety.”
Grant Tom his role – we’re pretty sure the nuclear industry was focused on safety at the time of TMI, else you would’ve had a human in additional to an industrial disaster – and he’s right on the details. Nuclear energy is exhibit A in how government and industry can work together to provide a net positive by tamping down each other’s worst instincts – the drive for profit on one side and regulating an industry to death on the other.
Tom focuses on TMI today. Maybe he’ll do a part 2 on his experiences on that day in 1979. First hand accounts always appreciated.
After you’ve looked at that story, prowl around the Insight portion of the NEI Web site. Insight is intended as a layman-friendly newsletter that covers topics such as nuclear medicine, environmental initiatives at nuclear plants and other feature-like, “light” topics. Lately, Insight has been posting stories like Tom’s that do not appear in the printed newsletter but expand the themes that do appear there. Terrific introduction to the wider world of nuclear utility.
After the TMI accident, Disney artist Art Riley proposed turning it into an amusement park. This is is concept image. See here for more. Far fetched? The Germans have done it with a plant that never opened. See here for more.