March 15, 2008 | Mark Paradies

Lessons From the Inside at TMI

 Photos Uncategorized Nautilus2
(S1W Prototype)

Picture 44
(Not everything is excitement in the Nuclear Nayy – Shutdown RO at S1W)

I can still remember when I first heard about the accident at Three Mile Island. I was on a bus heading out to S1W (a Nuclear Navy Prototype Reactor in the desert in Idaho). I was partly snoozing and the bus driver had a transistor radio playing. The music was interrupted for breaking news. The commercial nuclear power reactor at Three Mile Island was having some sort of problem – perhaps a meltdown! The on-the-scene reporter was interviewing a farmer near the plant. He said his cows weren’t acting right and that morning he could “…taste the radiation…”.

 Images Edward-Frederick

Ed Frederick, Keynote Speaker at the TapRooT® Summit,  was a member of the Control Room crew at the onset of the Three Mile Island Unit 2 accident on March 28, 1979. The decisions made, and actions taken by Mr. Frederick and the rest of the crew on that morning resulted in a partial meltdown of the reactor core. The accident is the only General Emergency and evacuation associated with nuclear power in the United States. The accident at TMI was the subject of intense public interest and is still remember each year in television news.

But the accident at TMI happened back in 1979. What could we possibly learn that’s new from such an old accident?

 History Coldwar Images Tmi
(Picture of Three Mile island)

Look at the various “facts” that are available at various places on the internet:

 Faculty Vanmeer Tmi-Core
(Picture of damaged core)

The causes for the accident at TMI and the experiences related by someone who was “investigated” after the accident are just as applicable today as they were back in 1979. And they are applicable across industries around the world. That’s why I’ve been asking Ed to speak at the Summit for years – the lessons are important for everyone who is interested in investigations and performance improvement to learn. And this year Ed will share his inside view of the accident and the aftermath.


Ed will also conduct a Best Practices Session that allows investigators to practice their skills by drawing and revising a SnapCharT® based on what they “know” and answers from the person involved – Ed Frederick.

For more information on the rest of the sessions and Keynote Speakers at the Summit and to register, see:

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