Choose the one answer you think best
industry is beset by controversy and mischance. Partially constructed plants
have been closed down for several reasons. Construction costs have escalated,
the demand for the power has decreased, and the number of antagonists to
nuclear plants has increased tremendously. Nuclear energy, once hailed with
hope for a future with cheap, plentiful power is currently reaching an impasse.
cause for the deterioration in the nuclear industry is the fiasco at Three Miles
Island in 1979. Ordinary
machines break down, and humans are prone to error. But a nuclear power plant
accident can cause widespread catastrophe. Salvage operations and cleanup of debris
at Three Mile Island are going to take twenty years and more than a billion
dollars (more than the plant cost to construct). The most significant factor
about the accident is, however, that it has jeopardized the whole future of
nuclear energy. Public dissent, present though dormant when the first nuclear
plants were constructed, has solidified after the deplorable chaos at Three
the nuclear plants built twenty and thirty years ago continue to operate safely
and economically. Smaller than more recently built plants, they have produced
power that is consistently less safe, and managed and run by less qualified
personnel. Many of these plants were designed and constructed so negligently
that they are now closed down.
investigation of the three Mile Island accident revealed that supervisors and
management alike were inadequately trained to cope with a crucial mechanical
failure in the nuclear system. Training programs today are developed more
precisely. Now prospective operatives take two years of classroom work and
spend three months under supervision in a control room and two more monthsat
the simulator, a computer programmed to recreate the Three Miles Island
diaster, before returning to another two months in the classroom. The Nuclear
Regulatory Commission administers oral and written exams before licensing new
operators. Every six weeks compulsory refresher courses are given. Presumably,
more scrupulous training requisites will reduce the chances of another Three
Mile Island debacle.
solution to the nuclear power plant dilemma may be to standardize facilities, as
the French have done. Because France has neither oil nor coal, nuclear power is clearly the solution to its energy
demands. The government constructs and operates plants that produce 44% of the
nation’s electricity. The French envisage that by 1990 they will have facilities
to produce 75% of their power.
however, would never be acceptable in the United States, but there are more
palatable alternatives. Plants would have to be standardized to some degree.
Nuclear wastes must somehow be disposed
of more safely than they are at present. Most important of all, safety must be
assured to appease the fears of a potent antinuclear coalition of the American
1. What is
the public’s biggest objection to nuclear plants?
length of time it takes to construct them
amount of electricity they generate
2. Why has
construction of new nucler plants been stopped?
cost too much to build.
are using less electricity
plants are unsafe
3. Why has
the Three Mile Island accident jeopardized the future of nuclear energy?
public saw the potential danger of nuclear plants and has united to protest
B. It will
cost more than a billion dollars to clean up the debris.
C. It will
take twenty years to get the plant running again
energy is too expensive.
4. Why are
the older plants still in operation?
were built twenty years ago
have better supervision that the new plants
C. They are
cheap to operate
D. They are
relatively safe, produce cheap electricity, and have efficient personnel
5. Why have
new plants been shut down?
A. Too much
time was spent building them
were designed and built too carelessly
public objected to htem
operators were not well enough trained
6. Who or
what is to blame for the three Mile Island disaster?
C. leaks in
D. a faulty
7. How long
is the training course for nuclear
A. a year
enough to enable them to take exams
being licensed, what further training do power plant operators get?
A. they get
experience on the job
take frequent refresher courses
have to take exams
9. Why are
the French committed to nuclear power?
have nationalized their nuclear plants
have government control of plants and equipment
have no alternatives
plants are producing 44% of their electricity
must the United States do before nuclear plants can be considered acceptable to
plants must be nationalized
plants must be less expensive to build
disposal and safety must be assured
groups must conceal their fears