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Doublespeak

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania is the home of a large, efficient, and

threatening

nuclear power plant, Three Mile Island. Nuclear power plants have the

awesome

ability to create large amounts of power with very little fuel, yet they

carry the

frightening reality of a meltdown with very little warning. Suppose you

live in

Harrisburg and you here that the nearby nuclear plant had a partial

meltdown, how

would you react? When most people here the word meltdown, they

automatically think

radiation, cancer, and death. Now suppose your living in Harrisburg and

you here the

nearby power plant experienced a "normal aberration", you would probably

react

differently.

Even with the highly proven safety of nuclear power, there is

still fear from

citizens and the chance of an accident. The nuclear power industry uses

misleading

language, and words understood by nuclear employees only, or euphemisms

and jargon,

to mislead the public and make them believe that there is nothing to be

afraid of and

that there is no possibility of a major accident. They take the public's

biggest fears,

meltdowns and contaminations, and make them into "events" and

"infiltrations." This

use of doublespeak is misleading to the public and may make them believe

that a major

accident hasn't happened, or the accident was a normal event or minor

incident.

In 1979 a valve in the Three Mile Island stuck open, allowing

coolant, an

important part of the plant, to escape from the reactor. An installed

emergency system

did its job and supplied the reactor with necessary coolant, but the

system was shot off

for a few hours due to employee error. Corrective action was eventually

taken, and only

a partial meltdown occurred. The plant's containment building was able to

hold most of

the radioactive products from entering the local environment. Only a

small amount of

activity escaped, that activity was carried by coolant water that had

overflowed into an

auxiliary building and then to the environment. Though the event didn't

pose any

extreme harm to citizens, this one billion dollar incident wasn't an

everyday event or

normal occurrence, as the industry's doublespeak makes you believe.

In 1986 a similar but more serious event occurred in the USSR. A

nuclear

power plant at Chernobyl exploded and burned. The explosion was caused by

an

unauthorized testing of the reactor by its operators. Radiation spread

rapidly forcing

135,000 evacuations within a 1000 mile radius, and more then 30 immediate

deaths.

This event was more severe then an "energetic disassembly" with "rapid

oxidation", it

was a severe incidence.

The nuclear power industry is opposed by many groups,

organizations, and

congregations. The industry recognizes the fears of people and they

realize the danger

of an accident. Instead of comforting and calming their fears with

straight facts, they

choose to deceive and mislead them with doublespeak. This may settle the

concerns of

the public, but it hides from them the possibility of danger, and the

reality of what a

meltdown can cause. This is dangerous for the citizens, and dishonest of

the industry.



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