chapter  1
25 Pages

Three Mile Island: A Normal Accident

ByCharles Perrow

Accidents will happen, including ones in nuclear plants. But, by and large, we believe accidents can be prevented through better training, equipment or design, or their effects can be localized and minimized through safety systems. The accident at Three Mile Island is being assessed in this fashion. The industry started a new training program, the equipment at the Babcock and Wilcox (B&W) plants is being improved, the design has been modified, the utility chastised – all useful, if minor steps. Furthermore, to nuclear proponents, such as Edward Teller, the accident proved that the effects can be localized and minimized. It is safe. No one has died as a direct result of radiation injuries in all the years of commercial nuclear plant operation.