Tuesday, June 6, 2006

666: nuclear accident list, the omen of disasters to come?

Nuclear Accidents, Earth, 1952 - 252006.

The problem with nuclear accidents is that they do not just happen - they go on happening.

Today the Chernobyl Nuclear Accident continued happening.

Once upon a time the 'Friends of the Earth' were pro nuclear. Now Tony Blair, 'Friend of the Dirt', and other very intelligent, thinking, caring people, are re considering the nuclear dream. A dream which has turned into a recurring nightmare without end.

The list of stupid nuclear accidents give below was first published in the International Times in 1977. It was researched by schmoo in protest at 'Friends of the Earth's' pro nuclear policy. They changed their policy. Sorry the list of accidents is so long (must be some kind of mistake - ed).

Will Tony Blair's 'legacy' be 250,000 years of radioactive pollution? Of course he does not want that. In fact he should be congratulated for having the guts to reconsider nuclear power which, despite the problems of radio active toxic waste, causes less environmental damage per watt than any other method of power generation, including windmills.

However, the appalling record of human negligence and stupidity listed below should make us all think twice, and then a third time, including the Prime Minister.

After all, if Tony wants to be remembered for a very, very long time, he needs there to be some survivors around to remember him - unless he is relying on the aliens.

Date: 12 Dec 1952.
Location: NRX at Chalk River, Canada.
Fault: Almost complete failure of scramrod system.
Result: Explosions destroyed core. 4 million liters of radio-active light-water collant leaked.

29th Nov 1955
Location: EBR1, Detroit, USA
Fault: Operator used slow acting scram rods to reduce core temp after a coolant test.
Result: Serious fuel meltdown. Core destroyed. Chairman of AEC not informed.

Date: 11 Sep 1957
Location: AEC plant at rocky Flats, Colorado, USA.
Fault: Scrap plutonium stored in open cans inside a huge "Glove Box' chamber ignited spontaneously setting the chamber alight.
Result: Serious damage costing $818,600.

Date: 8th October 1957
Location: Windscale No 1, Cumbria, United Kingdom.
Fault: Inadequately briefed physicist failed to carry out 'Wigner Release' process plus thermocouples did not show temperature of the hottest part of the core.
Result: 11 tonnes of Uranium caught fire. 20,000 curies of Iodine-131 spread over Cumbria. 2 Million litres milk ruined. Reactors 1,2, filled with concrete.

Date: 25th May 1958
Location: NRU, Chalk River, Canada.
Fault: Refuelling room fire.
Result: 400,000 sq.m around the building contaminated.

Date: 3 Jan 1961
Location: Stationary Low-Power Reactor No1, USA.
Fault: Central Control Rod No. 9 pulled 50cms out of core instead of 10cms.
Result: Core instantly went super critical. Resulting steam explosion killed Legg and McKinley. Byrnes cut down by radiation. No access to site for 20 days. Dead buried in lead-lined vaults.

Date: 8th Jan 1963
Location: Eazor Trucking Terminal, Jersey city, USA.
Fault: 40-litre glass 'carboy' filled with plutonium in solution was wrongly-labelled, wrongly-packaged, and transported against all regulations.
Result: Carboy leaked a puddle of solution until turned over. Some may have seeped through a cut in Edward Gleason's hand. In 1966 he developed cancer, in 1968 he had his left hand, arm and part of left shoulder amputated. After a court decision against him, he died.

Date: April 1st, 1963
Location: USS Thresher, off Cape Cod, USA.
Fault: Nuclear Sub made a deep test dive.
Result: Sub never resurfaced due to a reactor accident. Likely cause; faulty pipe welds.

Date: August 1964.
Location: Earth's atmosphere.
Fault: US space craft powered by radiotope generator burns-up during 'reentry' into earth atmosphere from space mission.
Result: 17 kilo Curies of plutonium 238 added to atmospheric burden of radioactivity from weapons tests. Pu-238 has a half-life of 87 years, but a very high specific activity.

Date: 15th October, 1965.
Location: AEC nuclear plant, Rocky Flats, Colorado, USA
Fault: Two serious 'glove-box' fires.
Result: 25 workers get up to 17 times the maximum exposure. Damage estimated at $40,000.

Date: Jan 1966
Location: Palomares, Spain.
Fault: US B 52 Bomber crashed with 4 H-bombs. Plutonium from one bomb was scattered in all directions on impact by detonation of high explosive inside bomb.
Result: American clean-up teams stripped 2.4 sq kms of all vegetation, and loaded 2.2 hectares of soil and vegetation into drums for burial at Savannah River in USA. One H-bomb had to be dredged from the Mediterranean.

Date: 5 Oct, 1966.
Location: Enrico-Fermi 1 Fast Breeder, USA.
Fault: Zirconium triangle dislodged partially blocking sodium flow.
Result: Fuel pins melted. Reactor shut down, fault found only after one year of investigation.

Date: Jan 1969.
Location: Lucens, Switzerland.
Fault: Loss of coolant due to pressure tube fracture.
Result: Serious contamination mainly in reactor cavern. Took 21 months for radiation to permit access. Reactor shut and used for waste storage.

Date: 5th June 1970.
Location: Dresden 11 BWR, Chicago.
Fault: Electrical fault automatically scrammed reactor.
Result: Fuel rods damaged and replaced. Potentially very serious.

Date: 21 July 1970.
Location: AEC nuclear plant, Rocky Flats, Colorado, USA.
Fault: 1405 barrels of plutonium waste buried in and outside gates of Rocky Flats plant.
Result: Carefully dug-up on April 14th and taken to an authorised burial site - along with large amounts of contaminated earth.

Date: 8th Dec 1971.
Location: Dresden 111 BWR, Chicago, USA.
Fault: Electrical fault automatically scrammed reactor due to fluctuating water levels.
Result: Incorrect safety procedure followed during incident. Serious 'loss of collant' accident could have occured.

Date: Early 1972.
Location: Hanford, Washington State, USA.
Fault: AEC reveal that over a period of years they have dumped 300kgs of plutonium in 'trench Z-9'.
Result: The soil beneath the trench selectively absorbed the plutonium so that a nuclear explosion was possible. It cost $1.9 million to dig up trench Z-9. Because of no alternative, AEC continued to dump plutonium wastes into 'trench Z-18' nearby.

Date: 12 April 1972
Location: Wuergassen, BWR, West Germany.
Fault: Safety procedures not followed after pressure valve opened.
Result: Reactor scxrammed. Drywell chamber and electrical gear damaged. Two year shut down.

Date: 21st December 1972.
Location: Gulf Uniter plutonium fabrication facility, Pawling, New York, USA.
Fault: Severe fire damage causes two explosions.
Result: 'Undetermined' amount of plutonium scattered in the surrounding area. Plant permanently shut down.

Date: 28th August 1974.
Location: N.S. Mutsu PWR, Japan.
Fault: Ship had immediate radiation leak during sea trials.
Result: Failure too repaire leak with boiled rice and old socks resulted in ship being unable to return to port for 45 days. This was also due to local opposition at home port by fishermen.

Date: November 1974.
Location: Kerr-McGee nuclear facility, Crescent, Oklahoma, USA.
Fault: Employee, Karen silkwood killed en route to meet reporter from the New york times with evidence revealing malpractice in the plutonium facility. Officials of the 'Oil, Chemical and Automic Workers International' suspect the car she died in was forced off the road. No evidence was found in the wreckage of the car.
Result: Facility closed in 1975 amid bitter controversy.

Date: 22 March 1975
Location: Brown's Ferry BWR 1 & 11, Alabama, USA.
Fault: Cable fire caused by electrician checking draught flow with a candle.
Result: Reactors scrammed after fire spread from one reactor to both. Core-cooling systems in Unit 1 destroyed. Costs included $40 million in lost electricity output.

In October 2003 the Ministry of Defence was forced to publish a long suppressed list of 20 nuclear related accidents involving dropping devices and having road accidents:

Wiltshire 1987 Truck with two 950lb WE177 n-weapons skidded and rolled on to side; second truck also slid off road. According to MoD, minor damage only. Armed police sealed off site from protestors

Malta 1974
Two torpedoes fell on to WE177 on board HMS Tiger. 'Superficial scrhttp://www.blogger.com/img/gl.bold.gifatching' said MoD, but torpedo blast could have detonated explosive in n-weapon, scattering radioactivity

Lincolnshire 1960
N-weapon truck had 'brake failure and overturned'; similar failure in 1963

Germany 1974 and 1984 WE177 dropped while loading on plane at RAF Laarbruch in 1974; another WE177 dropped at RAF Bruggen in 1984 - reportedly caused base to shut for period

At sea 1974 and 1981
Parts of Polaris casing 'compressed' onto missiles on board subs. Design modified

Firth of Clyde 1973- 87 Coulport arms depot: in 1973, Land Rover reversed into RAF convoy of Polaris warheads, 'minor damage' to truck; in 1977 Polaris missile dropped while lifted; MoD said it fell 'a few inches'; in 1987, missile hit trailer because of 'human error onpart of crane driver' and defective crane, according to MoD. After inquiry, 'substantial changes in management responsibilities, training and command and control'. On M8 near Glasgow in 1983, Polaris warheads convoy collided with car; in 1985 there was 'brake failure on carrier', according to MoD, and it bumped into one in front

M25 1991 RAF convoy had 'mechanical failure'; motorway was closed several hours while, it is thought, n-bomb was shifted from one truck to another.

The full MOD list is at the Memory Hole

Wikipedia has an updated listing of nuclear accidents.

Chernobyl legacy: a 'must see' photo report on Chernobyl by Magnum photographer Paul Fusco


1 comment:

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