Friday 24 February 2017

Lessons learned from nuclear accident can improve creches

The Three Mile Island nuclear power plant accident in 1979 had the greatest impact on nuclear regulation of any single event in history. The main pumps feeding cooling water into the reactor stopped running, preventing the steam generators from removing heat. This led to half the reactor core melting down. Three Mile Island could have been a Chernobyl-level nuclear disaster. It led to huge changes in how nuclear plants are regulated internationally.

Once the physical damage was contained, investigators tried to figure out how the pumps had failed. The first line of inquiry was to look for human error, a failure to follow procedures, or inadequate regulation. In fact, almost no slips were made. Every one of these highly paid professionals took nuclear safety very seriously and followed the rules to the letter, yet still there was a near catastrophe.

It turned out that those working in the nuclear power plants had become rule-following automatons, unable to see where the real risks lay while they blindly followed procedures set down for them to comply with.

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