3 Mile IslandResearch Method Essay Research Paper

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3 Mile Island(Research Method) Essay, Research Paper Introduction The Three Mile Island accident of 1979 was the worst nuclear power plant disaster in the United States. It happened at a time when nuclear power safety was in question and when the mention of the word Nuclear brought on thoughts of war. Also, it brought the downfall of nuclear power as a leading power resource. The significance it had on media history was it showed people how close to home the danger was and it gave a glimpse to outsiders on how local residents have lived in fear of Three Mile Island. The accident brought on a great debate on how safe was nuclear power. Research Method The media form that is in focus for this research paper are newspaper aritcles from between the two days following the

accident. The articles where chosen from two different instate newspapers: The Philidelphia Inquirer and The Harrisburg Patriot. The reason these newspapers were chosen was to give two perpectives on the situation, one from a local small market newspaper and one from a more high profile and high circulation newspaper. The writers of the articles varied from staff writers to AP reporters. Historical Background The media era in which the event occurred was in the modern media age which still exist today. Mass media consisted of new journalism. It was at an end of a decade which featured the winding down of the Vietnam War and the wake of the Watergate scandal. It was also the year prior to an election year. The world was still under the threat of nuclear war. The Cold War era was

five years away from reaching an all time high. Journalism was very aggressive and America was still in question onto how safe is nuclear power. Research Findings The opening front-page article from the Philidelphia Inquirer gave a detailed account of how the nuclear reactor leaked and provided a diagram how the nuclear reactor worked. The writer for the opening article on the accident was Inquirer science writer Joel n. Shurkin. He opens with the following paragraph following paragraph: The radioactive iodine that leaked yesterday from the Three Mile Island nuclear power station near Harrisburg is one of the inevitable products of atomic fission, the nuclear process used to generate electricity. The aritcle describes how a nuclear reactor should work and what happens when the

process goes wrong: It is fission that produces not only heat to drive the turbines, but also hazardous radioactive substances that, when everything goes right, are contained in a steel-and-concrete chamber: When something goes wrong, as happened at Three Mile Island, there is the possibility usually considered remote that radiation will leak out. Shurkin later writes about the worlds unknown knowledge of the dangers of nuclear radiation at the time: Scientist bitterly dispute what is a dangerous level of radiation. Some think that there is a threshold, and that any radiation that does not exceed that threshold does no harm. Other scientist believe that there is no such thing as a good level. Shurkin dicusses what happened mechanically but never describes what pysically happened

at the plant. There is no indication of what workers did at the time the radiation leak happened nor is there a report from anyone on how the crisis is being solved. The article stays along the line of informing a reader who is unfamiliar with a nuclear reactor. In one paragraph, he writes on how fission workes: As the uranium gives off radiation, particles strike nearby uranium atoms, splitting more particles. One result of the atom splitting, called fission, is a great deal of heat radiation. Another article on the Inquirer s front page, gave a more precise account of what happened at the plant and where they were getting their information.The following opening paragraph was wriiten by staff writer Thomas Ferrick jr. and Susan Q Stranahan: Radiation was being released yesterday