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EGEE hw #3 - Energy and the Environment EGEE 101 Homework...

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Energy and the Environment EGEE 101 Homework Assignment 3 1) Narrate in your own words what went wrong at Three Mile Island? [Approx. between 250 to 400 words] (25 points) On March 28, 1979 at 4 a.m. Three Mile Island, located off the Susquehanna River in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, suffered a “partial core meltdown”. This was “to-the- minute” of the first anniversary of its start up. The problem was determined to have started from the feedwater pumps in the non-nuclear cooling system to malfunction. Water stopped going through the loop and the steam generators were no longer taking heat away from the reactor. The turbine and the nuclear reactor system shut down. Because the heat was no longer being removed from the reactor, extra heat was increasing the pressure in the reactor. The PORV (pilot-operated, pressurizer relief) valve, used to relieve pressure from the reactor, opened but failed to ever close again. The cooling water was spilling out of the PORV valve and caused the reactor to overheat. The operators did not see the problem because the judged the reactor by the level in the pressurizer, which was high. The feedwater pumps were also discovered closed, when
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