10 Worst Historic Nuclear Disasters & Accidents From The World

Nuclear energy and its development have been a boon as well as a bane. The development of nuclear power and weapons have become plagued by many disasters.

6 years ago
10 Worst Historic Nuclear Disasters & Accidents From The World

A nuclear disaster is one of the worst disasters faced by the human society.  The after effects of the radiations can also be seen in the future generation of the place which got affected. The nuclear waste dumped at any place adversely affects the surrounding and the area where it is dumped.

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Nuclear disaster releases large radioactivity in the surrounding causing harm to all the people of the area. The disaster turns out to be lethal for all the groups of the people severely affecting newborn babies in the mother's womb.

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There have been several incidents of nuclear accidents recorded in the history of the world. The nuclear disaster is caused due to the use of nuclear power in the nuclear power plant.

The severity of the nuclear disaster is measured by the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale.

Some of the disasters which took place in the world are:

1) Chernobyl Disaster

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One of the worst disasters which took place in history is Chernobyl disaster in 1986 in Ukraine. It occurred when a surge in power of the nuclear reactor resulted in an explosion and fire. Due to this, the four units got destroyed and the radiations escaped the reactor and spread in all the directions.

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As a result, 31 people were killed in this accident and near about 22000 people were evacuated from their homes to some safe place. The radiations were so harmful that it damaged approximately $7 billion of property.

People started suffering from cancers which were the consequence of the explosion which occurred in the power plant. Eventually, it was recorded that millions of people died of cancer.

2) Fukushima Daiichi

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The nuclear disaster at Fukushima Daiichi power plant was caused when tsunami and earthquake struck eastern Japan.

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Due to the natural calamities, the power of the reactor went off and on the other hand, tsunami level rises up to the feet of the power plant. The building of the plant was developed to withstand a tsunami. The battery power was exhausted making the material to melt down due to which the nuclear radiations released out into the environment.

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The effects of the disaster were horrible, its consequences led the death of millions of people and affected the plants and surrounding.

3) Three Mile Island

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One of the worst disasters took place in the United States in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in the history. The disaster occurred when the valve of the reactor failed to close down and due to this reason the cooling water contaminated nuclear radiation and it was drained in the adjoining buildings.

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The operators of the nuclear plant did some mistakes due to which core got heated at the temperature and started melting down. Soon the radioactive wave started coming out of the plant.

Later the level of radiations increased and thus children along with the pregnant lady were evacuated from the city.

Although the incident did not cause any death but is still in controversy as it might be the reason of increase of the cancer rate in patients.

4) Windscale

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Windscale is the first nuclear reactor of the England and was built in the northwest in the 1940s. It was basically designed to produce plutonium and other materials for the manufacturing of the nuclear weapons. On October 10, 1957, workers noticed the sudden rise in the temperature and as result of it, uranium-filled graphite caught fire.

It continued to release the harmful radiations for the next two days into the atmosphere. The reactor was on the verge of getting collapsed. Workers tried to stop the fire with the help of carbon-dioxide, cooling fans and water, risking their lives. The fire finally was stopped on 12th October but the radioactive cloud spread across the United Kingdom and Europe.

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But the effects of the incident brought a sudden increase in the cancer cases and death of the people. According to the estimation, it was recorded that near about 240 people had severe symptoms of having cancer and much more in the long term.

The inquiry and investigation proved that it could be avoided and mishandled. The scene of the incident was suppressed for several decades. As if it was confronted it could break the United States and Britain's agreement on the nuclear power.

5) SL-1

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The disaster took place in Idaho Falls In United States of America in 1961. When the radiations spread in the surroundings when a single control rod was misplaced which caused Power surge and explosion in the SL-1 boiling reactor.

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It occurred during the test of an experiment. Rod was about to be inserted in the reactor core. They raised the rod at 20 inches rather than what was required. This resulted in the surge the reactor 6000 times than the normal within a second. This caused the nuclear fuel to vaporize in the surrounding. It caused severe damage to the life and the property of the country.

6) Kyshtym Russia

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In 1945, a nuclear power plant was developed in the secret town of Ozyorsk in the Ural Mountains. The plant was built to refine weapons grade the nuclear material. It was here that the first nuclear bomb was developed by the Soviet Union.

The waste produced at the plant was dumped in the nearby lake while other wastes were kept in the unregulated storage tanks. The temperature in one of the tank began to increase and thus the water present in the tank started to evaporate. On September 1957 the tank exploded with a huge force of 70 to 100 tons of dynamite.

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The radionuclide cloud covered 297 miles from Mayak. This shrouded incident caused up to 55 fatal cases of radium induced cancer and 66 cases of chronic radium syndrome.

7) Enrico Fermi Unit-1

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The Enrico Fermi Unit -1 is the country’s first operating liquid metal breeder reactor. Vibrations produced in the reactor caused the vessel to lose and this blocked the coolant flow from the hydrodynamic forces carried up to the nozzle inlet. The workers present at the site did not notice this until the alarm was sounded when the temperature was 700 Fahrenheit caused the metal to melt down. After the disaster reactor was closed for the repairs.

It occurred when the two metal assemblies melt down at the plant.in the Frenchtown Charter township in Michigan in the United States of America.

8) Sodium Reactor Experiment

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A partial meltdown occurred at the sodium reactor when the cooling fluent blocked the reactor which resulted in the reactor core fuel to overheat. Thirteen out of forty-three fuel was overheated when the cooling flow provided by the liquid was blocked by an oil like fluid named tetralin. The overheating caused the reactor fuel fail and fission products were released from the damaged fuel in the environment making it hazardous for plants, animals, and human beings.

The fission products from both the bay area and from the gaseous storage tank were released into the atmosphere.

9) Tokaimura Japan

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One of the most dangerous incidents took place in Japan on 30th September 1999. The incident took place at a Uranium facility where the workers were trying to mix the nitric acid with the uranium to form a fuel Uranyl  Nitrate. However, the workers unknowingly increased the limit of the uranium. The reactor could not stop the solution to reach the critical mass.

The two worker died of the high doses of the explosion and 70 others received the heavy doses of the gamma and neutron radiation.

The accident was caused by the human error which could have been controlled.

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10) Goiania Brazil

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One of the world’s most contaminated nuclear disaster was seen in the  Goiania, Brazil. The Radiotherapy institute was relocated to different place leaving behind the contains of cesium chloride. Later the scavengers found it and sold it in a junkyard. The owner invited friends and family to see the material glowing blue light. The radiations spread from the family and friends to the whole city and this resulted in the death of four people and nearly 245 people were exposed to the radiations.

The Nuclear energy is taken as the fickle as well as destructive. These disasters have taken away the life of hundreds of people and resulted in the destruction of property and environment.

Since the inception of human evolution, disasters took place in many forms, be it nuclear, natural, and agricultural. You can read something more about most famous disasters of the oil spill in history.


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