Nuclear disasters

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In March 2009, TIME magazine compiled details of the worst nuclear disasters:[1]

  • Fukushima disaster, March 11, 2011: As a consequence of an earthquake and a tsunami, on March 11 a series of explosions of four reactors at the Fukushima Dai-ichi site starts. The destroyed reactors continued releasing radioactivity to the sea and air so far for over one year. As of April 2012, the catastrophe is still not under control.
  • Chernobyl disaster, April 26, 1986: On the morning of April 26, 1986, reactor number four at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant exploded. More explosions followed, and the resultant fires sent radioactive fallout into the air. Four hundred times more fallout was released than that at the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. The Chernobyl disaster is considered to be the worst nuclear power plant disaster in history.
  • Goiania accident, September 13, 1987: More than 240 people were exposed to radiation when a junkyard dealer in Goiania, Brazil, broke open an abandoned radiation therapy machine and removed a small highly radioactive piece of cesium chloride. Children, attracted to the bright blue of the radioactive material, touched it and rubbed it on their skin, resulting in the contamination of several city blocks which had to be demolished.
  • K-431 Chazhma Bay, August 10. 1985: During refuelling in Vladivostok, Russia, this Echo II class submarine suffered an explosion, sending a radioactive cloud of gas into the air. Ten sailors were killed in the incident and 49 people suffered radiation injuries.
  • Palomares incident, January 17, 1966: A U.S. B52 bomber collided with KC-135 tanker during mid-air flight refuelling over the coast of Spain. The tanker was completely destroyed in the incident, while the B52 broke apart, releasing four hydrogen bombs. The non-nuclear weapons in two of the bombs detonated on impact with the ground, contaminating of a 490 acre area with radioactive plutonium.
  • Three Mile Island accident, March 28, 1979: The partial meltdown of the Three Mile Island Unit 2 nuclear power plant was the most serious nuclear power plant accident in the U.S., despite the fact that it led to no deaths or injuries.
  • Thule accident, Janury 21, 1968: A cabin fire aboard a B-52 forced the crew of the American bomber to abandon the craft before it could land. The bomber crashed onto sea ice near the Thule Air Base in Greenland, causing the nuclear payload to rupture, which resulted in widespread radioactive contamination.
  • Tokaimura nuclear accident, September 30, 1999: The worst Japanese nuclear accident happened in a uranium reprocessing facility in Tokaimura, northeast of Tokyo. The incident took place while workers were mixing liquid uranium.
  • Tomsk-7 explosion, April 6. 1993: The accident in the Siberian city of Tomsk took place after a tank exploded while being cleaned. The explosion released a cloud of radioactive gas drifting from the Tomsk-7 Reprocessing Complex.
  • Windscale fire, October 10, 1957: The incident occurred near Cumberland when the graphite core of a British nuclear reactor caught fire. The fire resulted in a release of much radioactive contamination.
  • Yucca Flat, December 18. 1970: After a nuclear test involving the detonation of a 10 kiloton nuclear device underneath Yucca Flat in Nevada, the plug sealing the shaft from the surface failed and radioactive material was released into the atmosphere. Eighty six workers at the site were exposed to radiation.


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References

  1. The Worst Nuclear Disasters
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