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Chronology of nuclear accidents worldwide
LONDON (Reuters) — Following is a chronology of major nuclear incidents over the last 40 years. Some have come to light only since the end of the Cold War.
October 7, 1957 – Fire destroyed the core of a plutonium-producing reactor at Britain’s Windscale nuclear complex — since renamed Sellafield — sending clouds of radioactivity into the atmosphere. An official report said the leaked radiation could have caused dozens of cancer deaths.
1957/8 – A serious accident occurred during the winter of 1957-58 near the town of Kyshtym in the Urals. A Russian scientist who first reported the disaster estimated that hundreds died from radiation sickness.
January 3, 1961 – Three technicians died at a U.S. plant in Idaho Falls in an accident at an experimental reactor.
July 4, 1961 – The captain and seven crew members died when radiation spread through the Soviet Union’s first nuclear-powered submarine. A pipe in the control system of one of the two reactors had ruptured.
1965 – The U.S. Atomic Energy Commission deliberately produced a low intensity radioactive cloud from a nuclear reactor over Los Angeles.
October 5, 1966 – The core of an experimental reactor near Detroit partly melted when a sodium cooling system failed.
October 17, 1969 – In Saint-Laurent, France, a fuel-loading error sparked a partial meltdown at a gas-cooled power reactor.
1974 – Reported explosion in a Soviet breeder plant at Shevchenko on the Caspian Sea.
December 7, 1975 – An accident occurred at the Lubmin nuclear power complex near Greifswald on the Baltic coast in former East Germany. A short-circuit caused by an electrician’s mistake started a fire. Some news reports said there was almost a meltdown of the reactor core.
March 28, 1979 – America’s worst nuclear accident occurred at the Three Mile Island plant near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. A partial meltdown of one of the reactors forced the evacuation of residents after radioactive gas leaked into the atmosphere.
Aug 7, 1979 – Highly enriched uranium spewed out of a top-secret nuclear fuel plant in Tennessee.
Around 1,000 people were contaminated with up to five times as much radiation as they would normally receive in a year.
April 25, 1981 – Officials said around 45 workers were exposed to radioactivity during repairs to a problem-ridden plant at Tsuruga, Japan.
November 1983 – Britain’s Sellafield plant accidentally discharged radioactive waste into the Irish Sea, prompting environmentalists to demand its closure.
August 10, 1985 – An explosion devastated the Shkotovo-22 ship repair facility which services Soviet navy nuclear-powered vessels. Ten people were killed and many died later from radiation exposure.
January 6, 1986 – One worker died and 100 were injured at a plant in Oklahoma when a cylinder of nuclear material burst after being improperly heated.
April 26, 1986 – Date of the world’s worst nuclear accident. An explosion and fire at the Chernobyl nuclear plant spewed radiation over much of Europe. Thirty-one people died in the immediate aftermath of the explosion. Hundreds of thousands of people were moved from the area and a similar number were believed to have suffered from the effects of radiation.
March 24, 1992 – Radioactive iodine and inert gases escaped into the atmosphere after a loss of pressure in a reactor channel at the Sosnovy Bor station near St Petersburg in Russia, triggering international concern.
November 1992 – In France’s most serious nuclear accident, three workers were contaminated after entering a nuclear particle accelerator in Forbach without protective clothing. Executives were jailed in 1993 for failing to take proper safety measures.
November 1995 – At Chernobyl, serious contamination occurred when fuel was being removed from one of the reactors. One person received the equivalent of a year’s permitted radiation.
November 1995 – Two to three tons of sodium leaked from the secondary cooling system of Japan’s Monju prototype fast-breeder nuclear reactor in a