Emergencies and Rationality The Case of Three Mile Island

March 1984 (VOL. 2, NO. 1)

Download this article

The accident at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant is analyzed from the perspective of rationality theory. Contrary to the popular view that operator errors were inexplicable, the concept of practical rationality reveals the subjective meaning of the operators' actions. It is argued that rationality is a valuable notion for the practical management of emergencies and man-made disasters, and that rationality is an essential element in the development of a sociology of disasters.