A nuclear radioactive incident is considered as an “accident” when it harms the people, environment and facility in any sort of way, according to INAEA. History is full of such incidents, consequences of which not only mankind, but every other living species had to suffer from. While there are several pros of using radioactivity, there are several cons as well. In today’s world, especially in medicine, radioactivity plays a vital role. For instance, cancer is treated by the radiation treatment. However, the radioactive plants around the country, and the misuse of the technology leads to deadly results. A radioactive disaster can be harmful to fatal, and its destruction can spread of a thousand years. Here are top ten radioactive nightmares that the world has gone through.
Three Mile Island
In March of 1979 is the month that saw two nuclear reactors meltdown. In the history of commercial nuclear power plant history, it was named as the worst accident. With this explosion, very tiny amounts of radioactive iodine and gases got released in the atmosphere. However, luckily for the people living in the premises, cancer was not detected. Ironically, only a few weeks earlier, “The China Syndrome” the movie was released, which specifically raised awareness regarding nuclear power safety. While people were still getting acquainted with the thought of nuclear power plants, the disaster struck.
Nuclear weaponry plant, Rock Flats had huge pieces of plutonium kept inside workstations that were names as the “glove boxes”. At least twice, this material, highly radioactive, caught fire. In 1969, the worse among these incidents happened when around 5kg of plutonium caught fire and the smoke that was emitted off this destruction darkened the sky. However, it took the authorities several more years before they actually decided to permanently shut this deadly laboratory down. Hence, it no longer exists.
In September of 1987, a junkyard ignorantly opened up a forsaken radiation therapy machine a removed what was a severely radioactive cesium chloride cake. Result was massive, as around 240 people were exposed to deadly radiation. The whole environment was severely contaminated, hence several of the buildings had to be demolished. It also caused death of four people. Kids from the nearby town got attracted to the blue radioactive material that lay on the ground and touched it, hence contaminating their houses and in turn the whole village.
SL-1 Experimental Power Stations
In January of 1961, US army’s experimental plant’s reactor was accidently exposed to steam explosion, which became the cause of the death of three of the nuclear plant operators. This accident was caused by the careless removal of control rod, which was responsible for absorbing the reactor’s core’s neutrons. This accident is said to have released around eighty curies of iodine. However, this is yet not the deadliest of the mishaps, or destructions caused by nuclear radioactive plants.
Hanford Nuclear Site
People working at Hanford Nuclear Site were responsible for releasing major amount of radioactive waste into the Columbia River over a coarse of decades. This being US’s most contaminated nuclear facility took around $2 billion per year cleaning up cost. A rough estimate, however, tells that the total amount of money spent in the clearing of this nuclear waste was around $120 billion. This happens when you leave careless morons near the radioactive waste!
In October of 1957, the sad incident of windscale fore occurred, which eventually caused about 33 cancer deaths. This happened when the plutonium pipes caught fire and caused contamination in the surrounding farms. This was Britain’s history’s worst nuclear power plant incident and its severity has been ranked at level 5 on the International Nuclear Event Scale of 7-point. In this fire, around 20,000 curies of iodine as well as 24,000 xenon curies and 593 caesium curies were released. Apart from that, several other radionuclides flew free as well. After this incident, several cancer cases came forward and also caused a major drop down of milk sales in the area.
The Baneberry Incident
In December of 1970, the US conducted an experiment, which is labeled as The Baneberry Incident. It was underground test carried out at the Nevada Test Site. Even though this 10kiloton device was buried some 250 meters below the surface of the earth, a large cloud of dust, which was basically radioactive material, was released into the sky. Soon after that North Carolina saw a radioactive snowfall. Around 86 workers at the test site were affected by this accident, the worst exposure being received the two of the security guards.
Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Disaster
March 11, 2011 marked the Fukushima disaster. This happened when a massive earthquake of 8.9 magnitude hit Japan, causing several deaths along with ten meter tsunami and around eighty fires. Dozens of homes got swept away and the damage caused was massive. However, this was only the beginning. Eleven of Japan’s northeast coast reactors were shut down on emergency bases. As gradually the temperature within these reactors rose, massive explosions took place, releasing the radioactive material. This ended up causing far more damage to the civilians than the famous Three Mile Island incident caused.
Kyshtym Nuclear Disaster
In September of 1957, radiation contamination disaster of Kyshtym took place. This incident happened at a nuclear fuel reprocessing plant called Mayak, located in the Soviet Union. INES measured it as level-6 disaster, which makes it one of the most severe nuclear disasters. The accident happened when the cooling system of the large nuclear plant failed, ending in a massive explosion.
Chernobyl incident is still considered as the worst nuclear power plant accident to have ever happened in the history of radioactive incidents. It is also one of the two disasters that have been ranked as level-7 events. The struggle to prevent and minimize the contamination involved more than 500,000 workers and cost around 18billion rubles. 31 deaths were recorded after this incident, however long-term effects like deformations and cancer are still visible.