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yellowgenius - 171 Views
Published on 22 Jun 2022 / In Health

I missed talking about this event: January 3, 1961 - explosion at SL-1 prototype at the National Reactor Testing Station, in Idaho. World's first fatal nuclear accident.

Three workers were reassembling the control rod drives on 3 January in preparation for startup the following day. At about 9:01 PM the three workers were on top of the reactor when one manually removed the center control rod as rapidly as possible, over a 0.5-second period. The reactor became supercritical, with a total energy release of 1.3 x 108 joules (comparable to 30 kg of TNT), producing a steam explosion. The worker who extracted the rod was killed instantly, impaled on the building's ceiling by a control rod. The other two men were burned and thrown by the steam explosion, one dying instantly from impact with a shielding block and the other sustaining head injuries of which he died 2 hours later (maximum dose sustained was possibly 350 rad). The release of radioactive material was largely contained to the building.Emergency responders were alerted by an automated alarm and arrived at the site at 9:10 PM. High radiation readings were measured in the reactor building, delaying entry. At 10:50 PM several responders and contractor personnel removed one man alive, who died shortly afterwards. One body was removed from the reactor building on 4 January and the other on 9 January. Of personnel/responders involved, 22 received doses of 3-27 rads from entering the building and/or handling the casualties.It is a very small event/number compared to all of the solar, wind & coal incidents and deaths that occur every year.

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