nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry Fukushima Chernobyl Mayak Three Mile Island Atomic Testing Radiation Isotope

CT scan service shut following radiation leak

CT scan service shut following radiation leak, SABITRI DHAKAL, Kathmandu, June 22 Bir Hospital shut down its CT scan service yesterday after radiation was found leaking from its highly shielded room.

The hospital has closed its services upon the recommendation of Nepal Academy of Science and Technology as a monitoring team from NAST found higher level of radiation in areas around the CT scan room. It has suggested that the hospital adopt protection measures against radiation leakage. The hospital had fixed a new CT scan machine six months ago.

Immediate exposure to high level of radiation will harm blood and skin cells. Effect of radiation on gonads, one of the reproductive organs in a male or female can lead to birth defects in babies, said Dan Bahadur Karki, president of Nepal Radiologist Association.

Skin burns can occur when exposed to higher level of radiation. A long term exposure to radiation could result in cancer and cardiovascular diseases. The early symptoms of sickness from radiation are nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea.

Radiation leakages can occur in hospitals due to defects in X-ray machines or when proper shielding of the X-ray room is not maintained. To prevent radiation leakage lead shielding is necessary, said Buddha R Shah, a senior scientist at Physical Science Laboratory, Faculty of Science, NAST.

The hospital is unsure of resuming the services any time soon as it lacks enough budget for repair and maintenance of the CT scan room. “It costs around 20-25 lakh to maintain the room. We don’t have enough budget. It takes two to three months for any maintenance work at the hospital incurring a cost of above Rs five lakh as the hospital administration has to go through a tender process,” said Kedar Century, director at the hospital………https://thehimalayantimes.com/kathmandu/ct-scan-service-shut-following-radiation-leak/

Advertisements

June 24, 2019 Posted by | ASIA, health, incidents | Leave a comment

Veteran of Chernobyl nuclear clean-up: HBO TV episode was very accurate

Chernobyl Episode 4 Scene | HBO | Graphite Clearing

This man knows what it’s really like shovelling radioactive debris on top of Chernobyl’s reactor ABC News 

Key points:

  • At age 32, Jaan Krinal was forced to go to Chernobyl and clean the roof of the reactor
  • He says men were initially enthusiastic to help eliminate the radiation
  • One-third of the men of his town he served with in Chernobyl have died

When he left his wife and two children on May 7, 1986 and went to work, Jaan Krinal didn’t know he would be one of those people.

The 32-year-old was working on a state-owned farm in Soviet-occupied Estonia.

Because he’d been forced to complete the Soviet military’s retraining a year before, he was confused when officers surprised him at work and said he’d been called up again — immediately.

Jaan and 200 other men were taken to a nearby school. Once they’d walked through the door, no-one was allowed to leave.

The men’s passports were seized before they were loaded onto buses and taken to a forest, where they were told to slip into brand new army uniforms.

“That’s when I first questioned what’s really going on here,” Jaan recalls………

Workers told radiation could have health benefits

It all happened fast.

Hundreds of men boarded a Ukraine-bound train on May 8. By the next evening, they were setting up camp on the edge of Chernobyl’s exclusion zone.

They were just 30 kilometres away from the site of the world’s worst nuclear disaster — the still-smouldering wreckage of a reactor torn apart by a series of explosions and spewing radiation in a plume across Europe.

Jaan was among the first group sent to clean up in the aftermath of the catastrophe.

Tasked with hosing down radiation on the houses in nearby villages, he was thrown into the thick of it……

Despite the apparent uselessness of the job, they continued to work 11-hour days without a day off until the end of June. After that, they had two days of downtime a month.

As the weeks rolled on, suspicions grew.

“We started to have doubts. But all the officers said, ‘Why are you fretting, the radiation levels aren’t that high.”

In a cruel irony, the commanders told the men that being exposed to radiation would actually have health benefits.

“They joked that whoever has cancer can now get rid of it — because the radiation helps,” Jaan says.

Men unaware of deadly reason behind roof time limit

By the end of September, whatever enthusiasm the men initially felt had faded.

As many developed a cough, concerns grew about whether they were being lied to about the radiation being harmless. The respirators the men were given wouldn’t stay on because of the heat and were used until they got holes in them.

Later they found they should have been replaced every day…….

A rumour had it that the very last leg of the assignment was going on the roof of the reactor to clean up as much debris as possible.

Humans were going to be given a task that remote-control robots had previously attempted, but failed. The machines simply stopped working due to the unprecedented levels of radiation.

“When they told us, ‘You have to go to the roof’, we thought, ‘Oh, this means we can go home soon’,” he says.

On the day, he changed his army uniform for a protective suit, glasses and a gas mask, and a metal groin guard.

“We were all lined up and told, ‘who doesn’t want to go on the roof, step forward’. But only a couple of us did,” he says.

“There was no mass rejection. Most people went up there.

“It had to be done. We couldn’t just leave it. I think everyone realised the longer the reactor would have stayed open, the more dangerous it would have become.”

Jaan was shown on a small screen exactly which piece of debris he had to pick up with a shovel and throw off the roof of the reactor, but strictly warned against going too close to the edge.

He had two minutes to complete the assignment — a bell would ring to tell him when to run back.

The two-minute timeframe was to limit exposure to radiation, which could kill a man.

But this wasn’t communicated to the men at the time.

Jaan says the roof-cleaning scene depicted in HBO’s mini-series Chernobyl mirrored real life events…….

A staggering one-third of the men of his town who went to Chernobyl have died.

The average age of death has been 52.

“Over the past couple of years, just a couple of us have died. But not too long ago it was around 10 men a year,” he says.

“There have been cancers. There have been suicides too, but thankfully not too many.”……

he hopes tourists won’t start flocking to the ghost city.

“I hope they’ll never start sending large groups of tourists there. It’s still a dangerous zone,” he says.

He hasn’t seen the mini-series, but welcomes the attention Chernobyl disaster is getting — he thinks it acts as a warning to the human kind.  https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-06-22/chernobyl-what-it-was-really-like-on-top-of-reactor/11223876

June 22, 2019 Posted by | incidents, Resources -audiovicual, Ukraine, wastes | Leave a comment

Chernobyl meltdown: the melted metal, with uranium and zirconium, formed radioactive lava.

How The Chernobyl Nuclear Plant Meltdown Formed World’s Most Dangerous Lava, Forbes, David Bressan   16 June 19    “………Even areas thousands of kilometers away from Chernobyl are still today contaminated with radioactive particles, transported by the wind in a gigantic plume over Europe.

As the cooling system of the reactor was shut down and the insertion of control rods into the reactor core failed, the nuclear fission went out of control, releasing enough heat to melt the fuel rods, cases, core containment vessel and anything else nearby, including the concrete floor of the reactor building. The fuel pellets inside the fuel rods are almost entirely made of uranium-oxide while the encasing in which the pellets are placed is made of zirconium alloys. Melting at over 1,200°C the uranium and zirconium, together with melted metal, formed radioactive lava burning through the steel hull of the reactor and concrete foundations at a speed of 30 cm (12″) per hour. Concrete doesn’t melt, but decomposes and becomes brittle at high temperatures. Part of the concrete was incorporated in the lava flow, explaining its high content of silicates, minerals composed mostly of silicon, aluminum and magnesium. Due to its chemical composition and high temperature, the lava-like material has a very low viscosity. When lava has low viscosity, it can flow very easily as demonstrated by stalactites hanging from valves and tubes in the destroyed reactor core.

Four hundred miners were brought to Chernobyl to dig a tunnel underneath. It was feared that the radioactive lava would burn through the containment structure and contaminate the groundwater. Only later it was discovered that the lava flow stopped after 3 meters (9 feet). Chemical reactions and evaporating water cooled the mixture below 1,100°C, below the decomposition temperature of the concrete.

About eight months after the incident and with the help of a remotely operated camera, the solidified lava was discovered in the ruins of the reactor building. Externally resembling tree bark and grey in color, the mass was nicknamed the Elephant’s Foot.

At the time of its discovery, radioactivity near the Elephant’s Foot was approximately 10,000 roentgens, a dose so high, only minutes of exposure would prove fatal. In 1996, radioactivity levels were low enough to visit the reactor’s basement and took some photographs. The photos are blurry due to radiation damage. The lava-like material resulting from a nuclear meltdown is also named corium, after the core of the reactor. An unknown uranium-zirconium-silicate found in the corium of Chernobyl was named later chernobylite. Chernobylite is highly radioactive due to its high uranium content and contamination by fission products. Corium will likely remain radioactive for the next decades to centuries.  https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidbressan/2019/06/14/how-the-chernobyl-nuclear-plant-meltdown-formed-worlds-most-dangerous-lava-flow/#4d73b4f01691

June 17, 2019 Posted by | incidents, Reference, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Chernobyl ‘suicide divers’ saved Europe from nuclear devastation

Selfless Chernobyl ‘suicide divers’ saved Europe from nuclear devastation. Mirror UK , 16 June 19

The world held its breath as the brave volunteers risked it all to but to prevent a second huge explosion.  he world owes him an eternal debt, but for Chernobyl hero Alexei Ananenko, it was just part of the job.Engineer Alexei was one of three men who volunteered to wade through radioactive water to prevent a second cataclysmic explosion at the stricken nuclear reactor.

They were dubbed “suicide divers” over the perilous mission.

Decked from head to toe in protective clothing, they descended into the bowels of Reactor 4 on a doomsday mission as the world held its breath.

Their heroism gripped viewers of Sky Atlantic drama Chernobyl. But with great understatement, 60-year-old Alexei insisted last night: “It’s nothing to brag about. Why should I feel a hero?

“I was on duty and it was my job. I was trained in what to do.”………

Experts believed that if 185 tons of molten nuclear lava hit the water below it would cause a radioactive steam explosion of 3-5 megatons – so massive that it would leave much of Europe uninhabitable for 500,000 years. Alexei was one of the few employees who knew where the latches and valves were located to drain water from the coolant system.

He, senior engineer Valeri Bespalov and shift supervisor Boris Baranov were tasked with turning them off.

Firefighters drained a huge volume of water so the men would not have to swim, but they were still forced to walk through radioactive fluid three metres below ground level.

The image of them carrying search lights as they wade through a toxic soup is captured in the TV drama…….

After the explosion a cloud of radioactive strontium, caesium and plutonium affected mainly the Ukraine and neighbouring Belarus, as well as parts of Russia and Europe. Between 1987 and 1990, 530,000 workers – known as liquidators and conscripted from across the USSR – worked in and around Chernobyl to clear up the toxic mess. ……….. https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/selfless-chernobyl-suicide-divers-saved-16523155

June 17, 2019 Posted by | incidents, Religion and ethics, Ukraine | Leave a comment

America came close to having its own Chernobyl-level nuclear catastrophe

Command and Control, Chapter 1

 

America Never Had a Chernobyl. But It Came Close.  https://www.popularmechanics.com/military/weapons/a27729387/chernobyl-broken-arrows/  

The U.S. kept nuclear accidents like the Damascus Incident secret for decades.

HBO’s Chernobyl is over, but if you’ve seen the series, you’ll remember it for a long time.

Coming on the heels of the mega-hyped Game of Thrones series finale, the five-part miniseries—created and written by Craig Mazin, and directed by Johan Renck—quickly overtook the fantasy story with its astonishing performances and commitment to its immersion in a world that Americans never really understood.

The focus in the discussion around Chernobyl lies where the miniseries has gone: nuclear reactors meant for peaceful energy. The safety of nuclear plants is of upmost importance, but that’s not the only place nuclear energy is located. According to the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, the Department of Defense maintains an estimated stockpile of approximately 4,000 warheads. Mishaps with these weapons of mass destruction are referred to as “Broken Arrow” accidents.

The United States has officially had approximately 32 of these incidents, often involving the transport of weapons from one location to another. None of these incidents caused a major disaster, let alone a Chernobyl-like event. Two nuclear weapons were dropped on Goldsboro North Carolina in 1961 and are now commemorated with an historical marker. But there’s no such memorial for the 1980 accident in which a Titan II missile carrying a thermonuclear reactor exploded near Damascus, Arkansas.

Chernobyl offers a new chance to examine these Broken Arrows. Fortunately, both the stories of Goldsboro, the Damascus Incident, and other Broken Arrows have already been documented in the film Command and Control, directed by Robert Kenner and based on a book by Eric Schlosser.

Available on PBSNetflix, and other streaming services, the documentary shows that the story of lies and of nuclear mismanagement is not limited to Soviet borders.

On September 18, 1980, routine maintenance on an Titan II went awry. A Propellant Transfer System (PTS) team was working on the missile under the authority of the Air Force. A ratchet was used instead of a torque wrench, and that was all it took for a socket from the missile’s oxidizer tank to fall 80 feet down, where a freak bump allowed it to puncture the missile’s first-stage fuel tank.

Efforts to stabilize the missile failed, and late into the night, it exploded. Two men sent in to vent the gas were presumed dead. One of them, Senior Airman David Livingston, died 12 hours later. The nuclear warhead was later found in a field.

There are many differences between Damascus and Chernobyl, of course. Honesty was maintained within the chain of command, although the man who dropped the socket had trouble articulating the truth of the situation for half an hour afterward. And while safety protocols couldn’t keep the 7-story missile from exploding, they did keep the warhead in check.

But when it comes to nuclear incidents, Command and Control makes it clear that the U.S. shares more with the scientists of Chernobyl than many feel comfortable to admit.

There may not be a deeply embedded culture of lying stateside, but the U.S. was as willing to cover up the truth of Damascus, as well as thousands of other nuclear accidents, for decades. And when it came down to the final decision making in Damascus, the documentary paints a picture of an out-of-touch Strategic Air Command that issued commands without any understanding of the situation on the ground—decisions that resulted in Livingston’s death.

Mazin has made it clear that his Chernobyl is not primarily focused on nuclear power. It’s a complex subject, as Valery Legasov, played masterfully by Jared Harris, makes clear in the final episode. But perhaps the greatest similarity between Damascus and Chernobyl was the confident belief that nuclear power could be safely managed at all.

Explaining how nuclear power works in a Soviet court, Legasov describes a dance that can generate tremendous energy. But as Adam Higginbottom shows in Midnight in Chernobyl, it’s a dance that people have been trying to get right for many years.

The Soviet system might have set up the scientists at V.I. Lenin Nuclear Power Plant for failure. But even with the best dancers in the world, there’s eventually a missed step.

June 8, 2019 Posted by | incidents, USA | Leave a comment

3 Royal Navy sailors serving on nuclear missile ship were caught taking cocaine

Evening Standard 2nd June 2019 Three sailors serving on a submarine which carries 16 nuclear missiles have
been caught taking cocaine, the Ministry of Defence has confirmed. The
Royal Navy submariners failed a Compulsory Drugs Test shortly after HMS
Vengeance visited a US naval facility in Florida.

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/three-royal-navy-sailors-tested-positive-for-cocaine-on-board-submarine-carrying-16-nuclear-weapons-a4157276.html

June 4, 2019 Posted by | incidents, UK | Leave a comment

Breathtaking series on Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe


(
Foxtel Showcase 12 June 8.30 pm and 10.30 pm)

Chernobyl: horrifying, masterly television that sears on to your brain. This breathtaking series throws us right into the hellish chaos of the nuclear disaster – and its terrors are unflinching and unforgettable, Guardian, Rebecca Nicholson,  29 May 2019 After three of its five episodes aired, the miniseries Chernobyl found its way to the top of IMDB’s top 250 TV shows in history list. While the fan-voted chart might seem hyperbolic, given that the drama had only just crossed the halfway point, it is not undeserving of the honour. Chernobyl is masterful television, as stunning as it is gripping, and it is relentless in its awful tension, refusing to let go even for a second. That old ‘don’t spoil the ending’ joke about Titanic will inevitably be rebooted here, but it is confident enough to withstand any familiarity with the story.

May 30, 2019 Posted by | Belarus, incidents, Resources -audiovicual, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Radiation in UW building: 200 employees being moved, cleanup could take at least six more weeks

May 27, 2019 Posted by | incidents, USA | Leave a comment

Risky incident at South Korean nuclear reactor

Hankyoreh 21st May 2019 According to South Korea’s nuclear power regulator, a nuclear reactor whose thermal output exceeded safety limits was kept running for nearly 12
hours when it should have been shut down manually at once.
Furthermore, the regulator said, an individual who wasn’t licensed to operate the reactor
was holding the control rods, which regulate the reactor’s output, at the
time. A continuing increase in output could have led to a thermal runaway,
potentially causing the reactor to explode.

May 23, 2019 Posted by | incidents, South Korea | Leave a comment

Chernobyl nuclear accident: how it happened, and the aftermath

In the immediate aftermath of Chernobyl, a total of 31 firemen and plant workers died. Some of their bodies were so radioactive, they had to be buried in lead coffins. A report by the World Health Organization estimated that 600,000 people within the Soviet Union were exposed to high levels of radiation, and of those, 4,000 would die. Those who lived near the Chernobyl site have reported increased instances of thyroid cancer, and they have an increased risk of developing leukemia.

700 Million Years

The Chernobyl accident is one of only two nuclear energy accidents that is classified as a “Level 7 Event,” the highest classification. The other is 2011’s Fukushima disaster in Japan. At the lowest level of Reactor 4 lies the famous “elephant’s foot”, a several-meter wide mass of corium that is still giving off lethal amounts of radiation. The half-life of radioactive elements is defined as the amount of time it takes for the radioactivity to fall to half its original value. The half life of U-235 is 700 million years. 

May 13, 2019 Posted by | incidents, Ukraine, wastes | Leave a comment

Increased tension as U.S. has seized a North Korean ship for sanctions violations

In Middle of Nuclear Standoff, U.S. Seizes North Korean Cargo Ship Illicitly Exporting Coal, Slate, By HANNON, 9 May 19

May 11, 2019 Posted by | incidents, North Korea, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Four decades later, the Russian nuclear disaster—now the subject of an HBO miniseries—is still reverberating

Chernobyl (2019) | What Is Chernobyl? | HBO

Chernobyl Isn’t a Story About an Accident—It’s a Story About Endless Impact

Four decades later, the Russian nuclear disaster—now the subject of an HBO miniseries—is still reverberating, The Ringer, By an immense tradition of fiction about nuclear war or radiological mayhem. But somewhat paradoxically, a nuclear disaster, in and of itself, doesn’t make for particularly interesting television or film. You can’t fight radiation the way you can fire, or hide from it like you can a tornado. In the trailer for HBO’s Chernobyl miniseries, which premieres Monday night, Jared Harris’s Valery Legasov compares a radioactive atom to a bullet. Indeed, radiation kills instantly, though the process of dying from radiation poisoning can take anywhere from days to decades. By the time a nuclear accident happens, there’s nothing to do but limit the damage it causes.

A grim ‘Chernobyl’ shows what happens when lying is standard and authority is abused

HBO’s miniseries about the 1986 nuclear disaster resonates with a crucial warning. (subscribers only) Washington Post 6 May 19

 

Chernobyl Disaster – growing up in the fallout zone, Business Insider, 6 May 19

Janina Scarlet was just under 3 years old when the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant blew up.

  • Chernobyl was the worst nuclear-reactor disaster in history. The explosion spread toxic radiation over large swaths of Ukraine, including Scarlet’s hometown.

  • Scarlet said she was often sick as a child, with a weak immune system and frequent nose bleeds. She still has migraines and occasional seizures……..

Although it’s been 33 years since the Chernobyl explosion, the health consequences of that radiation exposure still plague people who lived near the plant. The Chernobyl disaster has been directly blamed for fewer than 50 deaths from radiation poisoning, but many researchers say the full death tally from the Chernobyl explosion and its lingering effects may never be known. The World Health Organization estimates that eventually, the disaster may become responsible for some 5,000 cancer deaths. …….

Kids who lived near the Chernobyl site have increased instances of thyroid cancer, and adults who helped with the reactor cleanup are more at risk of developing leukemia.

May 7, 2019 Posted by | incidents, politics, Ukraine | Leave a comment

A dangerous mix – LSD drugs and sailors on nuclear aircraft carriers

Here’s Why You Don’t Mix LSD and Nuclear-Powered Aircraft Carriers   https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/heres-why-you-dont-mix-lsd-and-nuclear-powered-aircraft-carriers-54002

This can’t be good.

by Task and Purpose, 24 Apr 19, But the fact that these LSD rings popped up in the first place isn’t surprising at all. As I previously wrote, the middle of nowhere is the same kind of boring and awful whether it’s patrolling the Pacific or guarding nuclear silos in America’s heartland.

A sailor assigned to the nuclear reactor department aboard the USS Ronald Reagan admitted to bringing LSD aboard the aircraft carrier, Navy Times reports.

In a copy of a plea deal obtained by Navy Times, Machinist’s Mate (Nuclear Power) 3rd Class Philip S. Colegrove said he “wrongfully” brought the powerful hallucinogen aboard the Reagan while docked at various ports across Japan, as though there’s a right way to bring acid into the heart of a nuclear-powered warship.

The recent guilty pleas from Colegove and Electrician’s Mate (Nuclear Power) 2nd Class Sean M. Gevero bring the total number of Reagan nuclear reactor sailors disciplined in connection to “LSD abuse” aboard the Reagan to four, per Navy Times. A fifth is currently awaiting an Article 32 hearing

Ten other sailors, all from the same department, already faced administrative discipline last year for possessing and distributing LSD in connection to a drug ring aboard the nuclear aircraft carrier

The prevalence of LSD in a critical nuclear-related facility is surprisingly not confined to the Navy: In May 2018, 14 airmen from the Air Force security units at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming tasked with safeguarding nuclear missile silos were disciplined for dropping acid between shifts.

But the fact that these LSD rings popped up in the first place isn’t surprising at all. As I previously wrote, the middle of nowhere is the same kind of boring and awful whether it’s patrolling the Pacific or guarding nuclear silos in America’s heartland.

Anyway, if anyone has any insights into the right way to bring LSD into your (potentially radioactive) place of work, give me a shout — for, uh, science.

This article originally appeared at Task & Purpose. Follow Task & Purpose on Twitter.

April 25, 2019 Posted by | incidents, USA | Leave a comment

Nuclear weapons accidents and losses 1950s – 2000s

“Broken Arrows” – The World’s Lost Nuclear Weapons  https://interestingengineering.com/broken-arrows-the-worlds-lost-nuclear-weapons

Since the early 1950s, the United States and Russia have had numerous accidents with their nuclear bombs, and a number have even gone missing. By  Marcia Wendorf, April, 06th 2019  “Broken Arrow” is the name given to nuclear weapon accidents, whether they be by accidental launching, firing, detonating, theft or loss of the weapon. The U.S. admits to having 32 broken arrows worldwide, with six nuclear weapons having been lost and never recovered.

 
In the simplest terms, the way a nuclear weapon works is that a chemical high explosive compresses nuclear material until a critical mass is reached and fission is achieved. During fission, the nuclei of certain heavy atoms split into smaller, lighter nuclei, and release excess energy in the process. In some elements, such as certain isotopes of uranium and plutonium, the fission process releases excess neutrons which trigger a chain reaction if they’re absorbed by nearby atoms.

Thermonuclear weapons (hydrogen bombs) utilize a different process, that of fusion. When exposed to extremely high temperatures and pressures, some lightweight nuclei can fuse together to form heavier nuclei, releasing energy in the process. Those high temperatures and pressures are achieved by fission, so the trigger for a thermonuclear weapon is a nuclear weapon.

The 1950s

The first broken arrow occurred on February 14, 1950, when a U.S. Convair B-36 en route from Eielson Air Force Base near Fairbanks, Alaska to Carswell AFB in Fort Worth, Texas, crashed in northern British Columbia after jettisoning a Mark 4 nuclear bomb into the Pacific Ocean. The bomb was never found, and it contained a substantial amount of natural uranium plus 5,000 pounds (2,300 kg) of high explosives. According to the U.S. Air Force, the bomb didn’t contain the plutonium core necessary for a nuclear detonation. This was the first loss of a nuclear weapon in history.

On April 11, 1950a B-29 bomber carrying a nuclear weapon, four spare detonators, and a crew of 13 crashed into a mountain near Albuquerque, New Mexico. The bomb’s high explosives detonated and the nuclear capsule was damaged but it was recovered. All thirteen crew members onboard the aircraft died.

On August 5, 1950 at Fairfield-Suisun AFB, California, a B-29 bomber carrying a Mark 4 nuclear bomb experienced problems with two of its propellers and crashed while attempting an emergency landing. In the ensuing fire, the bomb’s high explosives detonated and killed 19 crew members and rescue personnel.

On November 10, 1950, near Riviere-du-Loup, Quebec, Canada, which is about 300 miles northeast of Montreal, a U.S. B-50 aircraft jettisoned a Mark 4 nuclear bombover the St. Lawrence River. The weapon’s high explosive detonated on impact, but the core was lacking a necessary component and did not detonate. The explosion did scatter almost 100 pounds (45 kg) of uranium. The airplane went on to land safely.

On March 10, 1956, a a B-47 aircraft, carrying three crewmen and two nuclear cores from MacDill Air Force Base near Tampa, Florida, was en-route to Ben Guerir Air Base, Morocco, and had completed its first aerial refueling without incident. It failed to make contact with the tanker for a second refueling somewhere over the Mediterranean Sea, and it was reported missing. The kind of weapons the plane was carrying remains undisclosed, but the type of nuclear bombs commonly carried by B-47s was the Mark 15, which would have had a combined yield of 3.4 megatons. No trace of the plane or the two nuclear cores has ever been found.

On July 27, 1956, a U.S. B-47 bomber was on a training exercise when it crashed into a nuclear weapons storage facility at the Lakenheath Air Base in Suffolk, England. The entire crew of the aircraft was killed. Known as an “igloo”, the storage facility contained three Mark 6 nuclear bombs, one of whose detonators had been sheared off in the accident. Investigators concluded that it was a miracle that the bomb hadn’t exploded.

On May 22, 1957, a plane was transporting a nuclear bomb to Kirtland Air Force Base when suddenly, the bomb fell through the bomb bay doors and crashed into a field near Albuquerque, New Mexico. The bomb’s high explosives detonated, creating a crater 12 feet deep and 25 feet wide, however, the nuclear capsule was found intact. The only casualty was a cow who had been grazing close to the crash site.

On July 28, 1957, a U.S. Air Force C-124 aircraft from Dover Air Force Base, Delaware was carrying three nuclear bombs over the Atlantic Ocean. The plane experienced a loss of power, and the crew jettisoned two nuclear bombs into the ocean, and they have never been recovered.

On October 11, 1957a plane carrying a nuclear bomb crashed on takeoff at Homestead Air Force Base, Florida. The plane burned for four hours, and the high explosives detonated, however, the nuclear capsule and its carrying case were found intact and only slightly damaged.

On February 5, 1958, near Savannah, Georgia, during a practice exercise, an F-86 fighter plane collided with a B-47 bomber that was carrying a 7,600-pound (3,400 kg) Mark 15 nuclear bomb. The F-86 crashed after the pilot ejected from the plane. The crew of the B-47 requested permission to jettison the bomb in order to reduce weight and prevent the bomb from exploding during an emergency landing. The bomb was jettisoned at 7,200 feet (2,200 m) over the Wassaw Sound off the shores of Tybee Island. Subsequent searches failed to locate the weapon.

It is not known if the bomb had its plutonium trigger, but if it did, the blast effects of a detonation would have been a fireball having a radius of 1.2 miles (2 km) and thermal radiation causing third-degree burns for 12 miles.

On March 11, 1958, a U.S. Air Force Boeing B-47E-LM Stratojet took off from Savannah, Georgia, and was scheduled to fly to the U.K. The aircraft was carrying nuclear weapons in case a war with the Soviet Union broke out. Captain Earl Koehler noticed a fault light in the cockpit, indicating that the bomb harness locking pin had not engaged. He sent Captain Bruce Kulka to the bomb bay area to fix the problem.

As Kulka reached around the bomb to pull himself up, he mistakenly grabbed the emergency release pin, and the Mark 6 bomb dropped onto the bomb bay doors. The bomb’s weight forced the doors open, and the bomb dropped 15,000 ft (4,600 m) to the ground. Two sisters, six-year-old Helen and nine-year-old Frances Gregg, along with their nine-year-old cousin Ella Davies, were playing 200 yards (180 m) from a playhouse their father had built for them.

The bomb struck the playhouse, its high explosives detonated and it created a crater 70 feet (21 m) wide and 35 feet (11 m) deep. Fortunately, the fissile nuclear core had been stored elsewhere on the plane. All three children were hurt, as were their father, mother and brother. The family sued the Air Force and received US $54,000. Today, the crater is still visible although overgrown by vegetation.

Sometime in 1958, a B-47 aircraft carrying a nuclear weapon inadvertently released the bomb over Mars Bluff, South Carolina. Luckily, the bomb lacked the fissile nuclear core, but the conventional explosives detonated, injuring six people and damaging buildings.

At a U.S. air base at Greenham Common, England on February 28, 1958, a B-47 carrying a nuclear weapon caught fire and completely burned. While the weapon didn’t explode, in 1960, a group of scientists found high levels of radioactive contamination at the base. The U.S. government has disclosed no further information about the incident.

On November 4, 1958, at Dyess Air Force Base in Texas, a plane carrying a nuclear weapon burst into flames during takeoff. The weapon’s high explosives detonated, killing a crewman, but the nuclear core remained intact. Only half a mile from the crash site was Butterfield Elementary School.

On November 26, 1958, at Chennault Air Force Base, Louisiana, a B-47 carrying one nuclear weapon caught fire while on the ground. This fire damaged the nuclear capsule and its protective case, and there was nuclear contamination of the area.

In Hardinsberg, Kentucky, on October 15, 1959, a B-52 carrying two nuclear weapons and a KC-135 refueling plane collided midair. Both planes and both bombs fell to the ground. The crash killed four crew members, and the two nuclear weapons were only slightly damaged. No radiation leakage was detected.

The 1960s

On January 24, 1961, a B-52 carrying two three- or four-megaton nuclear bombs was over Goldsboro, North Carolina when it suffered the structural failure of its right wing. The aircraft broke apart and the two nuclear weapons were released. On one bomb, three of its four arming mechanisms had activated.

In 2013, a Freedom of Information Act request confirmed that only a single switch out of four had prevented the bomb’s detonation. One of the recovery team recalled, “Until my death, I will never forget hearing my sergeant say, ‘Lieutenant, we found the arm/safe switch.’ And I said, ‘Great.’ He said, ‘Not great. It’s on arm.'”

The second bomb plunged into a muddy field, and its tail was discovered 20 feet below ground. A decision was made to leave the uranium and plutonium in place, and The United States Army Corps of Engineers purchased a 400-foot (120 m) circular easement over the buried components. Had either of the bombs gone off, everyone within an 8.5 mile (13.7km) radius would have been killed.

On March 14, 1961 a B-52F-70-BW Stratofortress bomber carrying four nuclear weapons experienced a problem with its cabin temperature. After temperatures climbed to between 125 degrees F and 160 degrees, the crew descended to 12,000 feet and depressurized the plane. After all four engines flamed out, the pilot put the plane into a dive and all crew members bailed out.

The plane crashed into a barley field near Yuba City, California, and the nuclear weapons were released. The weapons’ multiple safety measures protected against a nuclear explosion or release of radioactive material. A fireman was killed and several others were injured while rushing to the accident scene.

On July 4, 1961, a K-19 “Hotel”-class Soviet nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine was off the coast of Norway. The cooling system of one of its two nuclear reactors failed, and the temperature of the nuclear core climbed to 800 degrees Celsius, threatening to melt down its fuel rods. The crew and the submarine itself were contaminated by radiation and several fatalities were reported.

On October 25, 1962, at the Duluth Sector Direction Center near Duluth, Minnesota, an intruder was shot while scaling a fence around the facility. This triggered a “sabotage alarm”, which triggered a warning at Volk Field in Wisconsin. This alarm triggered nuclear armed F-106A interceptor aircraft to be sent to the source of the original alarm – Duluth.

Because of the Cuban Missile Crisis, the U.S. was at DEFCON 3, and there were no practice drills, everything was the real deal. When Duluth communicated that nothing was seriously wrong, the planes were only stopped by a car that raced down the runway after them. The intruder turned out to have been a black bear.

On January 13, 1964, a U.S. B-52 carrying two nuclear bombs suffered severe turbulence, and its vertical stabilizer broke off. The crew bailed out and the plane crashed near Savage Mountain outside Barton, Maryland. The bombs were found “relatively intact in the middle of the wreckage”. Three crewmen were killed as a result of the accident.

On December 8, 1964, at Bunker Hill Air Force Base, Indiana, several Strategic Air Command (SAC) aircraft were taxiing down a runway. The jet blast from one aircraft caused the plane behind it to slide off the runway and catch fire. The five nuclear weapons onboard the plane burned, but radioactive contamination was limited to the immediate area of the crash and was subsequently removed.

On December 5, 1965, an A-4E Skyhawk attack aircraft carrying a 1-megaton thermonuclear weapon, rolled off the deck of the U.S.S. Ticonderoga and fell into the Pacific Ocean. The plane, its pilot, Douglas Webster, and the weapon sank in 16,000 feet of water and were never found. It wasn’t until 15 years later that the U.S. Navy finally admitted that the accident had taken place only 80 miles from Japan’s Ryuku island chain, and this caused an uproar in Japan, which prohibits nuclear weapons from being brought into its territory.

Sometime during the mid-1960s, in the Kara Sea, the Soviet nuclear-powered icebreaker Lenin encountered problems with its nuclear reactors, possibly experiencing a meltdown. It was forced to dump the reactors into the sea and they have never been found.

The most well-known broken arrow occurred on January 17, 1966 near Palomares, Spain. A U.S. B-52 aircraft, carrying four nuclear weapons, collided with its refueling tanker, a KC-135, at 31,000 feet (9,450 m) and crashed over the Mediterranean Sea. Of the four Mk28-type hydrogen bombs, three were found on land near the fishing village of Palomares. The high explosives in two of the bombs had detonated and released plutonium contamination across a 0.77-square-mile (2 km2) area.  The fourth bomb, was recovered intact after a 2 ½ month-long search. During the U.S. cleanup effort, over 1,400 tons of soil were sent to a nuclear storage site.

On January 21, 1968, a fire erupted onboard a B-52 bomber operating out of Thule Air Base in the Danish territory of Greenland. The plane was carrying four B28FI thermonuclear bombs, and it crashed onto the sea ice in North Star Bay. The conventional explosives detonated and the nuclear capsules ruptured and dispersed their contents, resulting in radioactive contamination.

The U.S. and Denmark launched a clean-up operation, but the secondary stage of one of the nuclear weapons was never found. Workers involved in the clean-up operation have been experiencing radiation-related illnesses, and they have sought compensation.

On April 11, 1968, a Soviet diesel-powered “Golf”-class ballistic missile submarine sank 750 miles northwest of the Hawaiian island of Oahu. U.S. intelligence determined that the submarine had been carrying three nuclear-armed ballistic missiles and several nuclear-tipped torpedoes. The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), partnered with industrialist Howard Hughes to build a specially-designed deep-water salvage ship, the “Glomar Explorer” to recover the lost sub. They were only partly successful when the Glomar raised approximately half of the submarine.

Also during the Spring of 1968, the U.S.S. Scorpion, a nuclear attack submarine, mysteriously sank about 400 miles southwest of the Azores islands. Besides the tragic loss of all 99 crew members, the Scorpion was carrying two nuclear-tipped weapons with yields of up to 250 kilotons.

The 1970s

On April 12, 1970, in the Atlantic Ocean about 300 miles northwest of Spain, a Soviet “November”-class nuclear-powered attack submarine experienced a problem with its nuclear propulsion system. A merchant ship attached a tow line and attempted to pull the submarine to safety, but the submarine sank, killing all 52 crew members on board.

Off the coast of Sicily, Italy on November 22, 1975, twelve years to the day of his assassination, the U.S. aircraft carrier John F. Kennedy collided with the cruiser USS Belknap during an exercise. The collision occurred at night and during high seas. One, or possibly both ships, contained nuclear weapons, but no nuclear contamination was detected by rescue personnel.

The 1980s

On September 19, 1980, near Damascus, Arkansas, crewman were performing maintenance on a Titan II Inter-continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM). A crewman accidentally dropped a wrench into the silo, and it punctured the missile’s fuel tank. The missile leaked fuel for over eight hours before finally exploding, killing one and injuring 21 others. The blast destroyed the entire compound, but the nuclear warhead was recovered intact.

On October 3, 1986, 480 miles east of Bermuda, a Soviet “Yankee I”-class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine suffered an explosion and fire in one of its missile tubes. An attempt was made to tow the submarine, but it sank on October 6, 1986 in 18,000 feet of water, taking its two nuclear reactors and approximately 34 nuclear weapons down to the bottom of the sea.

About 300 miles north of the Norwegian coast on April 7, 1989, a Soviet nuclear-powered attack submarine, the “Komsomolets”, caught fire and sank. The vessel’s two nuclear reactors and two nuclear-armed torpedoes were lost, along with 42 of the 69 crew members.

On August 10, 1985, at the Chazhma Bay repair facility, about 35 miles from the city of Vladivostok, Russia, an “Echo”-class Soviet nuclear-powered submarine suffered a reactor explosion that released a cloud of radioactivity. Fortunately, the cloud never reached Vladivostok, but ten Soviet officers were killed by the explosion.

The 1990s

Also in the White Sea, on September 27, 1991, a “Typhoon”-class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine suffered a missile launch malfunction during a test. No other information is available about this incident.

In the Barents Sea on February 11, 1992 a collision occurred between a CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) “Sierra”-class nuclear-powered attack submarine and the U.S. nuclear-powered attack submarine “Baton Rouge”. The Commonwealth of Independent States is comprised of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan. The vessels reportedly suffered only minor damage, but a dispute arose over whether the incident had happened inside or outside of Russian territorial waters.

On March 20, 1993, in the Barents Sea, the U.S. nuclear-powered submarine Grayling collided with a Russian Delta III nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine. Both vessels reportedly only suffered minor damage.

The 2000s

On August 12, 2000, also in the Barents Sea, a CIS “Oscar II” class submarine, the “Kursk”, suffered a torpedo failure and explosion. The ship sank with all 118 men onboard. No evidence of radiation contamination was detected.

On August 29, 2007, at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota, six AGM-129 ACM cruise missiles, each loaded with a W80-1 variable yield nuclear warhead, were mistakenly loaded onto a B-52H bomber, and transported to Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana. The nuclear warheads were supposed to have been removed before transport, but they weren’t..

Once at Barksdale, the missiles with the nuclear warheads remained mounted to the aircraft for 36 hours and were not protected by the various mandatory security precautions for nuclear weapons. The missiles were never reported as missing, by Minot.

April 8, 2019 Posted by | history, incidents, Reference, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Concerns about radioactive waste incidents – Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute (SAFCEI)

SAFCEI concerned at Koekerg nuclear power station ‘incidents’ Koeberg released radioactive waste into the environment in three separate incidents years ago. The Citizen, 7 Apr 19, 

The recent revelations by Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan that three separate safety “incidents” had occurred at the Koeberg nuclear power station north of Cape Town in 2014 and 2015 should raise red flags for South African citizens, the Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute (SAFCEI) said on Saturday.

“Not only is the executive decision to keep the public in the dark about these incidents problematic, but possible safety issues contradict the South African government’s assertion that nuclear energy is safe, clean, and a solution to climate change,” SAFSEI said in a statement……..

In the SAFCEI statement, Peter Becker of the Koeberg Alert Alliance said, “When something happens at Koeberg, the [NNR] decides whether it should be classed as an ‘incident’ or not. If it is an incident, they need to report on this and the public would be better informed. But, if they deem it to be less than an incident, then they do not need to report on it, and since the public is none the wiser, there would be no public outcry. The question is, how does the NNR decide what to report on and what to omit? And, shouldn’t citizens have some say in what the NNR is obliged to share with them?

“While the NNR’s 2014 annual report does mention ‘minor occurrences’, the 2015 report stated that there were no nuclear incidents reported during that period,” Becker said.

Government and the nuclear industry were “downplaying the dangers associated with nuclear energy production and have concealed incidents from the public”, SAFCEI’s executive director Francesca de Gasparis said in the statement.

“Not alerting the public to nuclear incidents is problematic because it gives a false picture of the realities of nuclear energy production. The issue of access to information, what information is available in the public realm, and who gets to decide what is shared is particularly risky when dealing with this kind of energy production. It makes us ask, once again, whether South Africa needs or wants nuclear energy as a part of its energy future?” De Gasparis said.

– African News Agency (ANA) https://citizen.co.za/news/south-africa/environment/2113171/safcei-concerned-at-koekerg-nuclear-power-station-incidents/

April 8, 2019 Posted by | incidents, South Africa | Leave a comment