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The 1970's
A Nuclear Scare at Three Mile Island



A Nuclear Scare at Three Mile Island
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 5 to 7
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   7.22

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    assured, imminent, stoppage, happening, radiation, hazardous, excess, atom, civilization, catastrophe, production, generator, nuclear, atomic, radius, valve
     content words:    Three Mile Island, Mile Island


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A Nuclear Scare at Three Mile Island
By Jane Runyon
  

1     The world has been using fossil fuels for many, many years. Fossil fuels were created when plants and animals died hundreds of millions of years ago. Natural gas, oil, and coal are all fossil fuels. There is not enough time to replace fossil fuels at the rate that they are being used. How, then, are humans going to be able to produce the energy needed to make electricity? What kind of fuel will make their vehicles go? How will they heat their houses or run their machinery?
 
2     Scientists have been working hard to find answers to these questions. One of the solutions to the problem comes from nuclear energy. It was found that even the smallest atom of matter has energy stored inside. If that energy can be harnessed, large amounts of energy can be produced. There is one drawback to producing nuclear energy, however. If it is not carefully monitored, it can explode. The explosion itself can be very bad. The radiation released by the explosion can have even worse effects. The radiation can cause cancers in those exposed and even in their children who have not yet been born.
 
3     In 1979, a nuclear generating station was producing energy on Three Mile Island near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The distinctive shape of the cooling towers could be seen for miles around. The 25,000 people who lived within a five mile radius of the nuclear plant had been assured that they were in no danger. All possible safeguards had been installed in the plant to assure that nothing dangerous would occur. All of that changed on a crisp March day.

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The 1970's
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