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Accidents: 1970's

The 1970s began with the opening of the U.S.-U.S.S.R. Strategic Arms Limitation Talks ( SALT ) in April 1970. In May the U.S. bombing of Cambodia led to widespread protests on college campuses. National Guardsmen killed four students during a protest at Kent State University in Ohio on May 4. Ten days later two more students at Jackson State University in Mississippi were killed.

The U.S. increased the pace of the nuclear arms race in 1970 with the deployment of Minuteman III , the first missiles with multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles (MIRVs), which made it possible to target many cities with nuclear weapons from a single missile. In April 1971 one million people rallied in Washington, D.C. against the Vietnam War. In the area of arms control, the U.S. and Soviet Union agreed not to place nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction on the ocean floor . In September 1971 the two countries also agreed to improve the Hot Line between them.

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Nationalist China was expelled from the United Nations in October 1971, and the People's Republic of China was seated. Willy Brandt , Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1971 for his policy of "Ostpolitik."

In 1972 the SALT I accords were signed, placing limits on the number of offensive armaments which each side could possess. The Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty , designed to halt a defensive nuclear arms race, was also signed. The U.S. and Soviet Union entered into an agreement on the Prevention of Nuclear War in June 1973, agreeing to "remove the danger of nuclear war and the use of nuclear weapons." Should the risk of nuclear war arise, the nations promised to enter into "urgent consultations."

In 1974 U.S. Secretary of Defense James Schlesinger announced a doctrine of "limited strike options," in which a wide range of deterrence options would be available before resorting to massive retaliation. As a result of the Watergate scandal , Richard Nixon resigned the presidency under threat of impeachment, and Gerald Ford became President.

The Vietnam War ended on April 30, 1975, after ten years of fighting and two million deaths. Cooperation between U.S. and Soviet space programs led to a successful docking in orbit of U.S. Apollo and U.S.S.R. Soyez satellites in July 1975. On August 1, 1975, the Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe was adopted in Helsinki by 33 European nations, the U.S. and Canada. Andrei Sakharov , the Soviet physicist and human rights activist, received the Nobel Peace Prize.

In the later part of the 1970s, the UN General Assembly held its first Special Session on Disarmament. Its final document, issued on June 30, 1978, stated that "removing the threat of a world war -- a nuclear war -- is the most acute and urgent task of the present day." In June 1978 the U.S. and Soviet Union signed the SALT II Treaty restricting, but not reducing, the number of strategic offensive weapons each side could possess. There was still force in the superpower arsenals to destroy all major cities in the world many times over.

In March, 1979 an accident at the Three Mile Island Nuclear Power Plant near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, resulted in a partial core meltdown. Mother Teresa of Calcutta received the 1979 Nobel Peace Prize.

The 1970s ended with nearly three million persons dying in wars, two-thirds civilians.


Criticality accident. Uncontrolled release of radiation caused by neglect of an accumulation of plutonium in a vessel. Engineers did not know there was any plutonium residue in the vessel as the reactor did not feature the necessary neutron monitoring devices. (Sources: C. Wakstein, P.212)

10 workers exposed to radioactivity. (Sources: Work Circle Environmental Protection)

3 April
SHIPPINGPORT, PENNSYLVANIA, USA - Strontium 90 in the soil at the end of the site of the Shippingport nuclear reactor (claimed to be the safest in the U.S.) reached a level 100 times greater than the national average. The radioactivity in milk was 4 times greater. (N. Thieberger Op.Cit.p.5)

U.S.S.R. - Apparent sinking of a Soviet nuclear powered submarine in waters north-west of Spain -reported by Pentagon. (WISE NC 262 31/10/86).

PACIFIC OCEAN U.S.A. - A nuclear generating device containing plutonium crashed from the Apollo 13 moonshot in the sea near Norfolk Island. Records Show that it contained 3.78 kgs of plutonium 238 N.A.S.A. does not know the location of the module component and there has been no attempt to locate or recover it. Information about the plutonium content was withheld until July, 1980. Mr. Bill Wood, spokesperson in Australia for the U.S. National and Aeronautics and Space Administration, strongly denied there was any danger from the plutonium. Mr. Hesphy, Head of Citizens for Space Demilitarization, said the plutonium involved was very active and would remain so for many years. Although plutonium 238 could not penetrate the human akin, it is highly toxic and could be absorbed by fish and upset the delicately balanced ecosystem of the sea. ("The Australian" - 31st July, 1980)

5 June
INDIAN POINT, NY, U.S.A. - Reactor had a major plumbing problem which required the use of 700 men (for a few minutes each) over a 7 month period to weld in the radioactive area. ("Les Amis de la Terre"; "L`Escroquerie Nucleaire").

5 June
DRESDEN 2, ILLINOIS, U.S.A. - A spurious signal started off an incredible series of mistakes by both technicians and equipment. The reactor was out of control for 2 hours, pressure built up inside until it released radioactive iodine 131 to 100 times the safe limit to the dry well. Kendall Maglever preliminary review of the A.E.C. reactor safety study. According to Dr. STERNGLASS of the University of Pittsburgh, 2,500 babies would die because their parents lived downwind of the plant. (Work Circle Environmental Protection; Jean Geue A.A.E.C; Thieberger p.4)

FRANCE - Captain Jacques Cousteau, speaking to the Council of Europe, said of barrels of radioactive waste lying at the bottom of the sea, "They have been photographed lying open yawning like oysters". (Thieberger p.4)

7-11 September
FRANCE - At the Symposium of the International Atomic energy Agency it was revealed that reprocessing plants "lost" through liquid and solid discharges 1.5% of the materials they process. It was also stated that a nuclear power plant diffuses 30 curies of radioactivity per megawatt per year into the atmosphere. (Thieberger p.5)

Uncontrolled radiation release follows failure to observe safety procedures. Negligence blamed as plutonium accumulated in vessel. (Wakestein - "The Myth of Nuclear Safety" -The Ecologist - July, 1977)

30 September
HANFORD, WA, U.S.A. - A loss of coolant automatically started the primary SCRAM system (SCRAM is the rapid reinsertion of control rods). The system failed due to a short circuit. The backup SCRAM system worked. General Electric calculated that the probability of a failure in SCRAM was one in ten billion; the actual rate so far has been one in ten thousand. Past accidents at Hanford occurred on 3rd October, 1954, 4th January 1955, and 6th January 1966. (Jean Geue A.A.E.C; Webb, R.E. p.192-193)

18 October
WYLFA, U.K. - The plant was stopped after a power excursion accident, potentially more dangerous than a loss of coolant (LOCA). ("Noun allons tous Craver", J. Pignero - 1st April, 1974; "Les Amis de la Terre")

Workers were contaminated when radioactive storage vessel was left open for 3 days. (Nucleus - 25th July, 1979) 1970 - U.S.A.

The Nuggett File lists 7 accidents had occurred in this U.S. nuclear power plant in 1970.


CHARLEUOIX, MICHIGAN, U.S.A. - A B-52 bomber crashed at Lake Michigan, 2 miles from a small B.W.R. reactor An eyewitness said the plane was heading directly in line with the reactor when it crashed, raining a fireball 200-600 ft in the air. "If the plane had crashed into the reactor there would have been a mayor public disaster... "It has been speculated by the Grumman aerospace official that the plane may have flown into radioactive gasses normally discharged by the reactor's effluent stack. The radioactivity could have interfered with the plane's electronic guidance systems. No report has been made to the public. (R.E. Webb, 1 p.194-145)

OKLAHOMA, U.S.A. - Defective equipment allowed plutonium oxide to escape into the atmosphere at Oklahoma City, U.S.A. 22 workers contaminated. (Nucleus - 15th July, 1979).

OKLAHOMA, U.S.A. - Explosion killed a compressor worker as he was adjusting compressor.

Failure of pressure control system, excecutive pressure built up in safety compartment. (Work Circle Environmental Protection).

Five hundred gallons of radioactive primary coolant was inadvertently discharged into Thames River, near New London, Connecticut, from a nuclear powered submarine. (Melbourne "Sun"- 8th Oct 1976, p.23).

Shippport received gamma ray does from Duguesne reactor 56% of permitted annual dose. (Nucleus, 26th July 1979, p.16)

WATERFORD, CONNECTICUT, U.S.A. - The Millstone B.W.R. reactor suffered a malfunction of the steam valve which caused the radioactivity and hence the power level to rise beyond the fuel or rated power level. The SCRAM system or reactor safety system went into action but had it failed there would have been a rapid core melting, a nuclear runaway explosion, and finally a major public disaster. There is no back up safety system for SCRAM supposedly because SCRAM contains several back up electrical switches. However, all these switches were manufactured improperly causing the coating to become sticky over time. This means that the switches would not be able to open in an emergency. The failure of the back up electrical switches will increase with the passage of time.

The A.E.C. in 1973 issued a regulation requiring back up systems for SCRAM for reactors whose licenses were submitted after 1977. However, this leaves 200 reactors without back up safety systems. (Webb, p.193-194)

CLINTON, TENNESSEE, U.S.A. - The manufacturer of sealed radioactive sources abandoned a plant site leaving a significantly contaminated area. The cost of decontamination fell, by default, on the Federal and State Governments. ("A Landscape of Nuclear Tombs", Alexic Parks).

Malcolm Patterson (36) died of leukemia after working for 13 years at the plant and was exported to radiation dangers from plutonium. The British nuclear power company, British Nuclear Fuels, has admitted liability and agreed to pay $120,000 damages to his widow. The company told the Court that although it admitted liability the case should not be seen as a precedent. ("The West Australian" - 16th November, 1979)

9 accidents listed in the Nuggett File.

GULF OF GASCOYNE - 4,000 tonnes of radioactive wastes dumped in the Gulf. (Thieberger p.5, Agence de Press, Rehabilitation Ecologique, Repertoire dea Accidents Nuclesires, Paris 1974, 1976)

VERMONT YANKEE, U.S.A. - The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (1974) quoted the following incident: "In August, 1971, an intruder penetrated past guard towers and fences to enter the grounds of the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Plant at Vernon, Vermont". (Nucleus, 25th July, 1979)

10 October
BUGERY, FRANCE - Fire under the control room just before the reactor was put into service.("Le Monde", 12th August, 1972)

19 November
MINNESOTA, U.S.A. - Reactor's waste storage space being filled, company began spilling radioactive waste into Mississippi River. By 21st November about 50,000 gallons of wastes had been dumped into the river and some were sucked into the domestic water intake for St. Paul. ("Record on Nuclear Safety", Saskatchewan Coalition Against Nuclear Development in Gyory, A., et al Op.Cit. p.120)

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (1974) quoted the following incident: "....in November, 1971, arson caused $5-$10 million damage at the Indian Point No.2 plant at Buchanan, New York". (Nucleus, 25th July, 1979)

U.S.A. - A box of radioactive salts of Molybdenum 99 was being carried on a Delta Airlines plane when it began to leak. The leak was not discovered until 9 flights later. Enough radiation escaped to cause "some worries" to the A.E.C. ("Thieberger", p.5)

10 December
LA HAGUE, FRANCE - Rupture of the pipes carrying radioactive materials, contamination of the pool and drinking water at the plant. 150 separate leaks into the contra occurred. Work periods of 3 minutes were instituted for the welders due to the strong radioactivity of the contra. (Rayonnement, a paper of the CFDT CEA, July, 1972)

WINDSCALE, U.K. - Radioactive wastes released into the sea - equivalent to 200,000 curies, 16 times the predicted levels. (Nucleus, 26th July, 1977)

Cracks in the reactor pressure container. (Work Circle Environmental Protection).

Fuel rods underwent swelling at Westinghouse reactor; each of the rods was supposed to have been filled with enriched uranium oxide. A number of the spent rods were found to be empty near the top for a space of several inches. (N. Thieberger p.5)

A former welder, who later became a local councillor in the Safety Liaison Committee of Hinkley Point Nuclear Power station in Somerset, England, alleged that some of the pipe repairs were not properly made on the instruction of his superiors trying to cave work. He also claimed that X-Rays of good welds were used to cover the deception. The events happened in 1971 and are under "very thorough and urgent investigation" by the Central Electricity Generating Board (CEGB) after instruction from the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate (NIII). ("The Guardian" 25/2/87, WISE NC 269 27/2/87 p.10)


8 March
INDIAN POINT, NY, U.S.A. - Pressures in the primary cooling circuit increased by 30%. Water released subsequently killed 150,000 fish in the Hudson River. Studies in the U.S. have found that there is a slight increase in radiation levels in rabbits and fish around all sites in the U.S. ("New York Times" - 16th June, 1974)

WURKGASSEN, WEST GERMANY - Pressure relief valve opened and stuck. Steam poured out and destroyed reinforcement structures. Important reactor control instruments failed to function and about 1,050 tonnes of radioactive water flowed into the River Weser. After months of repair the plant re-opened only to close down again in February 1973, and again in February, 1974. (Lebensahutz - April 1974)

GINNA REACTOR, ONTARIO, CANADA - This Westinghouse-designed and -fuelled reactor contained 2,000 fuel rods, 40 of which were bent or crushed. (N. Thieberger Op.Cit. p.5)

MIHAMA, UNIT 1, JAPAN - 1,900 out of 8,800 pipes of the steam generator were damaged. (n. Thieberger p.5)

14 June
HOLLAND - A Dutch fisherman found a metal barrel with the words "Highly Radioactive" printed on it, just of the coast of Holland. (N. Thieberger P.5)

SACLAY EL-3, FRANCE - There were two gates in this reactor through which radioactive wastes and normal wastes would pass. One would go into a special container, the other went straight into the drains. After the emptying of more than ten cubic metres of radioactive liquids, the special container was still empty. The reason was that the gate leading to it was still closed, while the one leading to the normal drain system was open. (N. Thieberger p5)

Sediments in reactor core prevented circulation of cooling water. (Work Circle Environm. Protection).

Radioactive contamination when container of radioactive effluent burst. Several source faults were detected. ("Contingency Plan", Work Circle Environmental Protection)

Two deaths due to failure of a valve. Investigation detected more than 500 faulty welding spots. (Work Circle Environmental Protection, "Not Man Apart" - September, 1972)

MILLSTONE 1 REACTOR, U.S.A. - The 40,000 condenser tubes which were made of aluminum alloy corroded, allowing sea water into the cooling system. (Jean Geue A.A.E.C.) "Boston Globe" - 14th October, 1974).

7 November
TURKEY POINT 3, U.S.A. - Switch gear room of the reactor flooded due to plugged drains. (N. Thieberger Op.Cit.p.6)

23 November
TENNESSEE, U.S.A. - A hi-lacked DC-9 circled Oak Ridge nuclear installation for 2 hours. Hi-jackers demanded $10 million. Oak Ridge was shut down and most staff evacuated. Hi-jackers demands were met and they flew to Cuba. (Thieberger p.6; Nucleus - 25/7/79)

8 December
SICN, ANNECY, FRANCE - Fire in the SICN plant which produced nuclear fuel. A further explosion and fire occurred on 22nd December 1972 and a fire on 9th October, 1973. (SICN - Societe Induatrialle de Combustible nuclesire) (Jean Geue A.A.E.C.)

14 December
DOUNREAY, SCOTLAND. - Anonymous telephone call alerted security staff who found two parcels in the plant. 1,500 staff members were evacuated. Parcels were empty but could have been bombs. (Thieberger p.6).

21 December
PERPIGNAN, FRANCE - Children found playing with boxes containing Strontium 90 which they found in a field near the local airport. (Jean Geue A.A.E.C.)

22 December
ANNECY, FRANCE - Fire in the SICN plant which produced nuclear fuel. (SICN - Societe Industrialle de Combustible Nucleaire) (Jean Geue A.A.E.C.)

10 accidents listed in Nugget File for U.S. nuclear power Stations for 1972.


15 January
VERMONT YANKEE, U.S.A. - Vermont Yankee reactor emitted 100 times the safe limit of radiation caused by cracks in tubes carrying radioactive material. At one stage Vermont Yankee's plant control rods were put upside down and the plant later started operating with the lid off the pressure vessel. ("Times Record" - 23rd April, 1974).

CHOOZ, BELGIUM - Radioactive elements from the nuclear plant entered River Mouse near Vise. Water remained abnormally radioactive for about 6 months. ("La Nouvelle Republique" - 10/1/73)

16 February
HOLLAND - Container of Cobalt-60 lost in the sea north of the Island of Ulieland. (Thieberger p.10)

26 March
ARGENTINA - Guerillas entered the Argentinean reactor, painted graffiti and planted a phosphorous bomb in a nuclear plant. The bomb was extinguished before the plant was destroyed. (Agence de Presse, Rehabilitation Ecologigue, Repertoire des Accidents Nucleaires, Paris 1974, 1976; Thieberger p.6)

Serious damage to steam generators. Took one year to repair only to be replaced two years later with new generators. (Work Circle Environ. Protection)

Cracks on two cooling systems, potentially catastrophic as complete failure of cooling system could have occurred. Cracks discovered by accident. (Work Circle Environmental Protection)

17 April
MILLSTONE 1, CONN., U.S.A. - Numerous cracks were discovered in the pipes of the cooling system. Radioactive mist escaped and activated radiation alarms on nuclear submarines docked at Waterford. ("Wall Street Journal" 3/5/1973)

20 Apri
HANFORD, WA., U.S.A. - 100,000,000 gallons of atomic wastes stored in containers whose life is 30-40 years. A leak was discovered on 20th April, but wastes were still poured into the tanks, resulting in a leakage of 115,000 gallons before 8th June, when pouring stopped. Geologists point out that the area has been under water at least 4 times in the last 40,000 years, the last time being 14,000 years ago. (Work Circle Environ. Protection; Penelope Coleing)

VIRGIN ISLANDS, U.S.A. - The nuclear submarine "U.S.S. Sturgeon" suffered "minor structural damage" when it accidentally struck the bottom of the ocean off the Virgin Islands. No injuries reported. (WISE NC 262 31/10/86)

HANFORD, WA. U.S.A. - A further 460,000 litres of radioactive liquid spread on the ground surrounding the reprocessing plant. ("Los Angeles Times" -5th July, 1973)

MIHAMA, JAPAN - 1900 out of 8,000 pipes of steam generator at the No. 1 Unit Mihama damaged. (Nucleus -25/7/1979 )

SURRY, VA., U.S.A. - Two workers killed while inspecting defective valves when valve blew off at Surry reactor. (Nucleus - 25th July, 1979)

SACLAY KL3, FRANCE - Ten cubic metres of radioactive fluids escaped into drains normally meant for "ordinary" wastes following failure of gate leading to special radioactive waste container which falls open at SACLAY BL3 Reactor. (Nucleus - 25th July, 1979)

U.S.A. - According to the A.E.C. cover reactors had been closed down or abandoned (costing millions and millions of dollars) as well as 77 research or experimental reactors, and the only nuclear cargo ship, the "Savannah". Four nuclear submarines were dismantled or "lost". (Thieberger p.7)

EDWARD GLOSSON, a New Jersey truck dock worker, accidentally spilled plutonium on himself while handling a leaking box of liquid waste in 1963. Four years later his hand, then his arm and shoulder were amputated because of a rare form of cancer from which he died in 1973, aged 39. The company responsible refused to pay him compensation before he died. (Nucleus 25/7/79; Thieberger.7).

Radioactive gas escaped, 35 employees contaminated, 7 seriously. ("Los Echos", 24th September, 1973) According to "Time" magazine the crabs in the Channel have developed ulcerous sores. Radiation level in the crabs in 1975 rose to 8 times the normal level. (Jean Geue A.A.E.C.).

Sodium leak and chemical explosion in the secondary cooling system of the reactor. ("Le Monde" - 15 Feb 74; Nucleus - 25 Jul 79, p.13)

MIHAMA PLANT, JAPAN - Fuel damage discovered, bowing of rods; similar to Westinghouse reactor problems at Robinson Point and Point Beach Island. (Thieberger p.7)

WINDSCALE, U.K. - Radiation leak in the reprocessing plant; 34 workers were irradiated. (Jean Geue A.A.E.C.) Head and plant at reprocessing facility went abruptly and alarmingly out of service when an accident occurred involving the inadvertent attempt to fill a vessel already containing highly active residues. (Ian Breach, Windscale Fallout, p.37)

MILLSTONE, CONNECTICUT, U.S.A. - Forty thousand aluminium alloy condenser tubes in Millstone 1 reactor corroded allowing sea water into cooling system. ("Boston Globe", October, 1974).

9 October
ANNECY, FRANCE - Fire in the SICN plant which produced nuclear fuel. (SICN - Societe Industrialle de Combustible Nucleaire) (Jean Geue A.A.E.C.)

12 October
U.S.A. - Congress investigation committee told by SENATOR MIKE GRAVEL that emergency cooling systems had failed six times out of six when tested in 1970. He also told of the discovery of high concentrations of Strontium 90 near the Shippingport reactor in 1972. (Thieberger p.7; nucleus - 25th July, 1979, p.13)

22 October
SAN ONOFRE, CA., U.S.A. - Malfunction of turbine generator led to shutdown of reactor. Increased vibration led operators to shut down faster than normal, causing overheating; this in turn activated the primary coolant system which caused a drop in pressure, normally indicating a blocked coolant pipe. The emergency system cut in and flooded the reactor with cooling water which hit the valves with too much force since the coolant was already there; pipes broke and six months were needed to repair the damage. ("The Observer", 2nd October, 1973)

14 December
HANFORD, U.S.A. - 35,000 litres of radioactive waste leak. Jack-rabbits in the area excrete radioactive "hot" pellets and coyotes which eat the rabbits die of radiation poisoning. By the end of 1977 half of a million gallons of wastes had leaked from Hanford site. (Les Amis de la Terre.)

U.K. - Wives of employees at Britain nuclear installations started a "love strike", fearing radiation sickness. Nearly all 2,000 employees at Windscale atomic centre were affected. Union delegate, John Nuctur, said that "the young women had told him they refused to have any intimate contact with their husbands because their sweat might radioactively contaminate the linen." (Nucleus, 25 Jul 79; Thieberger p.8).

20 December
U.S.A. - A truck carrying two casks of radioactive Cobalt was involved in a pile-up of two care and six trucks - one of which was carrying a cargo of inflammable lacquer. One of the cars burst into fire but fortunately the truck carrying the Cobalt did not. (Simpson, J.W. Op Cit. p.2)

61 accidents were reported in U.S. nuclear power plants. (D. Higson and D.W. Crancher, Australian Atomic Energy Commission)

11 accidents recorded in the Nugget File for 1973.

The following failures were listed in the A.C.R. Annual Report for 1973:

1. Emergency core cooling system sensors pressure component failure.

2. Four radiation monitors were not source calibrated at three months intervals. Personnel error.

3. Area gamma monitor on the perimeter fence became inoperable.

4. Instrument lines monitoring suppression chamber were incorrectly tubed to differential pressure sensors.

5. Radioactive gases released. Exact cause unidentified. (Guyorgy, p.107)

1973 1 July - 1974 30th June
U.S.A. - The A.E.C. found a total of 3,333 safety violations at the 1,288 nuclear facilities it inspected. 98 of these posed a threat to radiation exposure to public or workers. Punishment was imposed by the A.E.C. for only 8 of these violations. ("Record on Nuclear Safety", Saskatchewan Coalition Against Nuclear Development in Guyorgy, A., Op Cit. p.120)


1974 - 1975 - U.S.A.
Over a one-year period 15-20 nuclear reactor power stations had to be closed by the N.R.C. due to cracks in the water cooling System. (Work Circle Environmental Protection)

7 January
LENINGRAD-1, U.S.S.R. - Explosion of a reinforced concrete tank containing radioactive gases at Leningrad-l. ("Nucleonics Week" (31/5/90); WISE-334 22/6/90) .

Charlevoix County in Michigan has an infant mortality rate 448 higher than national average. Immature infant deaths are 18% higher; leukemia is 400% higher. Cancer deaths are 15% more numerous than national average. Congenital defects 230% higher. Charlevoix County is the home of Big Rock Point nuclear power plant. (See Mary Weik 1964) (Thieberger p.8)

23 January
CHERBOURG, U.K. - An appeal sent out by radio: "Urgent notice for navigators from Cherbourg - blue container, two metres long, containing radioactive material is lost in the North Sea 56 degrees 36'N., 00 degrees 55'E. In case of discovery do not open, and immediately inform Coast guard Aberdeen". (Nucleus, 15/7/79; Thieberger. p.8)

26 January
WASHINGTON, DC, U.S.A. - Released today that Dr. Carl Walaki told a Parliamentary Sub-Committee in May and June 1973, that 3,700 people who had access to nuclear arms had been sacked during 1973/74 for reasons such as alcoholism, abuse of narcotics or mental illness. (Thieger, p.8)

6 February
LENINGRAD-1, U.S.S.R. - Explosion of the tertiary circuit at Leningrad-1 from hydraulic shocks induced by violent boiling. Three persons dead. Release into the environment of highly radioactive water containing filter wastes. ("Nucleonics Week" 31/5/90; WISE-334 22/6/90).

AUSTRALIA - The annual incidence of leukemia in Australia has increased from just under 2 cases per million in 1930 to 57 cases per million in 1970. ("Atmospheric Testing, a survey of medical statistics in Australia" by Bruce J. Brown)

Woman contaminated by plutonium. Karen Silkwood had gathered evidence on the unsafe working conditions at the plant and was on her way to deliver these to a newspaper reporter and a union official when she died in mysterious circumstances. ("West Australian" 22nd May, 1979; A.B.C. "Four Corners", 21st July, 1979). Subsequently Karen Silkwood's father received $1 million in settlement from the company.

A Siemens experimental reactor was abandoned due to insurmountable problems. Cost was approximately $A66 million (DM 200 million). (Work Circle Environmental Protection)

Violent vibrations in the turbines caused most of the vanes to break off. Repairs cost $A93,000 per day. ("Lebensachultz", Apr 1974; "L'Escroquerie Nucleaire"; Nucleus, 25/7/79 )

14 March
HANFORD, WA., U.S.A. - Leak of 115,000 gallons of highly radioactive waste. Defective storage tank. This was the seventeenth leak at Hanford. (Nucleus, 25th July, 1979; Penelope Coleing, M.A.U.M.)

6 April
N.S.P.C., MINNESOTA, U.S.A. - Northern States Power Company reactor dumped 10,000 gallons of radioactive water into the Mississippi River causing Minneapolis to close its water intake gates. From 1969-1974 the A.E.C. made a total of 10,320 inspections and found 3,704 installations with one or more violations (but imposed civil penalties or some other action a total of only 22 times). (N.Y. Times, 26th August, 1974). 1974 analysis "indicating the industry can anticipate a probable accident involving radioactive material in 1974 and perhaps as many as one per month in 2000" (Donald E. Reardon, Deputy Manager ERDA, S.F. Office, at Warren Committee hearing in November, 1975) (Thieberger, p.9)

U.S.A. - The N.R.C. recorded 1,421 anomalies in U.S. reactors in 1974, 529 "Potentially significant". (Gen. Nuclear Review Vol 1 No.1 1970)

2 May
A radioactive cloud of Tritium formed after a leak in a pipe at nuclear reactor. ("Le Monde" 5/6/1974)

3-4 May
HANFORD, WA., U.S.A . - 1,900 to 7,600 litres of liquid radioactive waste containing 600-2400 curies of Caesium 137 and 10-40 curies of Strontium 90 leaked from underground storage tank No. 111 which is 40 metres above the water table. (Penelope Coleing, p.4; Thieberger, p.4; Nucleus, 25th July, 1990)

INDIA - Police arrested 5 personnel of a uranium enrichment plant and discovered 3.6 kilograms of uranium. Enquiries revealed the gang which stole uranium, transported it through Nepal to eventually end up in Hong Kong. (Thieberger p.9; Nucleus, 25/7/79)

28 May
U.S.A. - The U.S. Atomic Energy Commission said that "there were 861 irregularities in the industry in 1973 in the 42 reactors which were working. Of those, 371 had some potential of being hazardous, 18 really were, 12 actually leaked radioactivity in the atmosphere. (Nucleus 25/7/79; "Les Amis de la Terre")

MIAMISBURG, OHIO, U.S.A. - A.E.C. laboratory leaked plutonium contaminating the Erie Canal. ("Boston Globe", 14th May, 1974)

11 July
QUAD CITIES, ILLINOIS, U.S.A. - Radioactive vapour escaped after a valve on the primary circuit ruptured. Reactor had been working at 25% capacity. ("Chicago Sun Times" 11th July, 1974)

GRENOBLE ISKRE, FRANCE - Leak into the reactor pool of 2,500 curies. ("Le Monde", 29th September, 1974)

ANS, MATSU, JAPAN - The crew of this nuclear cargo vessel discovered a leak in pipes carrying radioactive materials after leaving Japan. Because of the potential danger they were unable to re-enter Japanese waters. Operators used berated boiled rice and old socks to try to block the leak. ("Les Amis de la Terre"; "L'Escroguerie Nuclesire" Patterson, p.213.)

3 Sept
LOS ALAMOS, NEW MEXICO, U.S.A. - 1,900 to 3,800 litres of radioactive liquid escaped into the environment onto one of the main streets and into a parking lot. The area was closed off, parts of the road were replaced. Past accidents at Los Alamos occurred on 21st Aug. 1945; 25th May, 1946; 30th Dec. 1958. (Thieberger, p.11; Nucleus, 25/7/79)

September and December
ILLINOIS AND CONNECTICUT, U.S.A. - A crack about 7.6 cms long was discovered at the Dresden Plant in Norris. As a result of this discovery some 60 others were found. Plants of similar type were investigated (Millstone, Quad-Cities, Dresden 2) and two Japanese facilities were found to have experienced the same problem. (Nucleus, 25/7/79; Thieberger, Ibid.)

19th September
RINGHALS, SWEDEN - Three pumps of the primary cooling system broke down. Reactor had to work at 30% capacity after the accident. ("Not Man Apart", mid-October 1974; "L'Escroquerie Nucleeire")

18 October
CON EDISON TRI-CITIES PLANT - Radioactive gas released, exceeding the A.E.C. limit by 33%. In 4,000 shipments of radioactive fuel in 1975, 400 reported accidents occurred in which 150 released "small amounts" of radioactivity, two "Potentially dangerous". (Robert Barker, N.R.C. Department of Transportation, in his summary of WASH 1238 at Warren Committee hearings in November, 1975).

10 November
SAINT LAURENT DES EAUX, FRANCE - Fire in electrical panel of the SL2 reactor. Reactor shut down and not allowed to run at full capacity. ("Journal du dimanche", 10th November, 1974)

23 November
SACLAY, FRANCE - Chemical explosion occurred during the cleaning of pipes at the Osiris reactor injuring six people, no radioactive leak. ("Le Figaro", 24th November, 1974)

WINDSCALE, UK - Monitoring failure at reprocessing plant, worker allowed to leave with plutonium on his shoes. (C. Wakstein, "The Myth of Nuclear Safety"; Nucleus, 25th July, 1979, p.15)

Pallisades reactor taken out of service after leaks in 7,000 out of the 14,000 tubes in condenser were discovered. (Thieberger p.11)

TENNESSEE, U.S.A. - Radiation levels at one Tennessee reactor lunch room measured at eight times normal level. (Nucleus, 25th July 1979 p.15)

WIEDERRICHBACH, GERMANY - Experimental Siemens reactor abandoned in Niederrichbach. Impossible problems. Cost $A66 million. (Nucleus, Ibid)

14 accidents are listed in the Nugget file for 1974.


DRESDEN 2, ILLINOIS, U.S.A. - The Dresden No 2 B.W.R. reactor had to be shut down after cracks were found in the high-pressure piping of the emergency core cooling system. The cracks penetrated the full thickness of the piping resulting in a water coolant leakage. A loss of coolant accident could have occurred resulting in reactor coolant blowing out of the ruptured pipe and exploding into steam. The cracks were discovered by accident. "Large cracks had occurred in other unrelated piping, which leaked noticeable quantities of water and similar cracks were then found in many boiling water reactors in the same piping." (Webb, R.E. p.201)

8 January
MIHAMA 2, JAPAN - Leak in pipes of steam generator of the Mihama 2 reactor (500 megawatts) caused radioactive gas to escape. ("Nuclear News", March 1975 Patterson, p.213; "L'Escroguerie Nucleaire")

30 January
U.S.A. - U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission orders shut down of 23 boiling water reactors, because of hairline cracks found in coolant pipes at Dresden. Second time in nine months that U.S. plants closed. (Sien/LNS Aus Uranium Kit, August, 1975; Nucleus, 25th July, 1979)

27 March
NORTHWEST UTILITIES, WATERFORD, CONNECTICUT, U.S.A. - Nearly 1,200 workers had to be evacuated from the Northwest Utilities Nuclear Plant because of a radioactive water spill. Some of the contaminated water entered Long Island Sound. 20 workers had to wade through 4,000 litres of spilt radioactive water to safety. (Penelope Coleing; Work Circle Environmental Protection)

WINDSCALE, U.K. - Leak of radioactive waste found its way through two successive leaks. Corrosion is a possible cause. (Wakstein, C., Nucleus, 25th July, 1979)

22 May
CON EDISON INDIAN POINT AEC, NY, USA - Inspection shows that, despite corrective measures taken for earlier violations, reactor workers are still exposed to above maximum permissible levels set by A.E.C. (Nucleus, 25th July, 1979, p.16)

An operator's error dumped 50,000 gallons of radioactive water into the basement of the Oyster Creek nuclear plant. (Clamshell Alliance p.4)

There have been at least 271 fires and 410 "Contamination incidents" at Rocky Flats. The cancer rate among Rocky Flats workers is seven times the national average. Hundreds of railway cars carry the waste from Rocky Flats' worst fire (11th May, 1969) to Idaho Falls where it was dumped in trenches in the ground.

These trenches are above the nation's largest underground water reservoir, a source of water for much of the Northwest. An A.E.C.spokesman said "we have substantial technical experience. There's no real or potential basis for alarm - ever." The National Academy of Sciences have condemned the practices of the dump. (Clamshell Alliance, p.1)

Large leaks of radioactive water were discovered at this Miami Reactor. (Clamshell Alliance, p.4)

6 June
ZION, U.S.A. - 15,000 gallons of radioactive water leaked from cooling system into reactor containment building. N.R.C. blamed the leak on open valve caused by failure to observe proper procedures. Zion has had the highest rate and number of abnormal occurrences of any nuclear power plant in the U.S. (Penelope Coleing; "The 10 Most Dangerous Nuclear Power Plants", The Elements, Feb. 1977, in Guyorgy, p.120)

VERMONT YANKEE PLANT, U.S.A. - Faulty valves allowed 300,000 litres of radioactive water from plant to spill into river. (Nucleus, 25th July, 1979, p.15)

JAPAN - Japanese nuclear ship MUTSU found leaking radioactivity due to faulty design of reactor shield. (Nucleus, 25th July, 1979, p.15)

PHOENIX REACTOR, FRANCE - Reactor at Phoenix develops leak forcing plenty closure (the sodium coolant can explode on contact with water even at normal temperatures).

LENINGRAD, U.S.S.R. - Local core melt at Leningrad-1. A day later, over 1.5 million curies are released through the stack. ("Nucleonics Week" 31/5/90; WISE334 22/6/90).

U.K. - Nuclear waste train derailed in town on transit from Barrow to Windscale reprocessing plant. ("Times", 20th December, 1975, p.1)

572 incidents of radioactive contamination of workers, 205 internal contamination. (Nucleus, 25/7/1979 p.1)

Plutonium poisoning of workers in enrichment plant. Chief witness died in mysterious circumstances. (Work Circle Environmental Protection)

Fire in plant caused by electrician checking for air flow with candle. Destruction of 2,000 cables, emergency core cooling system, reactor core isolation cooling system and all important regulators and emergency cooling systems. Only chance prevented the melting of the 1100 megawatt reactor. Out of service for 1-1/2 hours. A Senate investigation revealed that the final reactor design had been approved even though it did not meet regulatory requirements. The total cost of the accident was at least $150 million, making it the most expensive industrial accident on record. (Work Circle Environmental Protection; Guyorgy, p.120; Webb, p.198; Clamshell Alliance p.4)

Two deaths followed leak of 800 litres of radioactive steam during vent repairs. (Work Circle Environmontal Protection)

30 November
LENINGRAD - Soviet authorities have admitted to the occurrence of a severe accident at a Leningrad nuclear power plant on 30 November 1985. After the rupture of a faulty tube, large amounts of radioactivity (mainly radioactive iodine) had been set free and were found as far away as 2,000 km. The local population had not been warned. ("Sudkurier (FRG) 18/6/90; WISE-336 20/7/90).

22 accidents recorded in the Nugget File for 1975.


5 January
JASLOUSKE BOG UNICE, CZECHOSLOVAKIA - Extensive leakage of "hot" radioactive gas in which two workers were suffocated, the emergency exit which they made for was locked "to prevent frequent thefts". The four emergency "decoy" tanks designed to deal with escaping gas by reducing radioactivity before it released into the atmosphere could not cope with a leakage of this magnitude and radioactive gas escaped into the atmosphere. The public were not warned of the dangers and workers at the plant were not allowed to know the level of radiation they had absorbed.

12 January
KENTUCKY, U.S.A. - Six drums containing radioactive waste burst open after they rolled off tractor-trailer trucks in Ashfield, Kentucky, U.S.A. Two drivers were slightly injured. When the highway was cleaned checks indicated radioactivity. (Legislative Research Service Paper, Parliamentary Bookstore , Canberra)

WINDSCALE, U.K. - Leak of radioactive waste in storage tank caused by corrosion. (Parliamentary Research Service Paper, Parliamentary Bookstore , Canberra)

21 February
JASLOUSKE BOG UNICE REACTOR, CZECHOSLOVAKIA - Primary circuit overheated while new fuel rods were mounted, rupturing steam generator; primary and secondary circuit and working area contaminated. ("New Ecologist", January/February 1979)

MAXY FLATS, KENTUCKY, U.S.A. - Further leak of radioactive waste at Maxy Flats. (Nucleus, 2Sth July, 1979)

WINDSCALE, U.K. - Leak of radioactive waste from still drums caused by corrosion. (Parliamentary Legislative Research Service Paper, Parliamentary Bookstore , Canberra)

Further leak of radioactive waste from steel drums after corrosion. (Nucleus, 25th July, 1979)

PORT HOPE, CANADA - Discovery that in Port Hope, Canada, which was built on uranium waste landfill, radiation levels in some buildings are 100 times more than safe. Bone marrow abnormalities found in town residents. (Nucleus, 25th July, 1979, p.18; Craw Doo Dah Gazette, August, 1976)

PHOENIX REACTOR, FRANCE - Reactor at Phoenix developed fault in heat exchange between primary and secondary sodium cooling circuits (sodium can explode on contact with water even at normal temperatures).

LA HAGUE, FRANCE - Leak at Capede la Hague reprocessing plant, discharge into sewerage system. Eight workers inhale plutonium dust (concentration of plutonium 1,000 times greater than permissable dosage in parts of plant). Took seven months to repair.

VERMONT YANKEE PLANT, U.S.A. - Faulty valve caused 300,000 litres of Tritium contaminated water to spill into the Connecticut River. This was the second of three spills. (Guyorgy, p.120; Clamshell Alliance p.4)

13 October
PARIS, FRANCE - France's most advanced nuclear reactor had been closed for an indefinite period because of a leak in one of the three devices that transferred heat from one fluid to another, an Atomic Energy Official reported. (A.A.P. Reuter, "Newcastle Morning Herald")

FRANCE - Streams reported to be contaminated near La Hague reprocessing plant. One stream from which cattle drank reported containing 3,800 picocuries/litre water. (Nucleus, 25th July, p.18)

WINDSCALE, U.K. - All British nuclear fuel workers received above internationally agreed upon radiation levels in 1976. (Intern. Press/Nucleus, 16th August, 1978)

WINDSCALE, U.K. - 100 gallons per day of contaminated water leaking from an old waste storage silo. This incident was not reported to the Government for two months, and eventually set off the Windscale Public Enquiry. (Parliamentary Legislative Research Service Paper, Parliament House, Canberra)

PILGRIM PLANT, BOSTON EDISON, U.S.A. - 16,000 herring were killed, probably by thermal shock at Boston Edison's Pilgrim Plant on Cape Cod Bay. (Clamshell Alliance Publication p.4)

WINDSCALE, U.K. - Leak of radioactive waste. Beach contaminated by tritium. (Parliamentary Legislative Research Service Paper, Parliament House, Canberra)

Plutonium dumped in unlined trenches, travelled 800 feet through soil in less than ten years. (Thieberger p.12)

17 accidents were recorded in the Nugget File for 1976. This is the last entry in the extract. The postscript concludes: "What is really distressing is that despite the vast amount of specific technical information concerning the frailties and defects of critically important safety apparatus, the Federal agency in charge of nuclear safety has not taken adequate measures to prevent these recurring safety lapses." (Nugget File p.75)

Radioactive mist that escaped from the Millstone plants in Waterford activated nuclear alarms in nuclear submarines docked at Groton. (Clamshell Alliance, p.4)


KOZLODUJ, BULGARIA - An unexpectedly strong earthquake (5-6 on the modified Mercalli scale) shook the nuclear plant which was only built to withstand quakes of lower intensity. ("Der Spiegel" 20 Apr 87, WISE NC 275 12 Jun 87)

6 April
WINDSCALE, U.K. - Site and adjacent area contaminated by Ruthenium 106. (Legislative Research Service Paper, Parliamentary Bookstore , Canberra; Wakstein, C; "The Ecologist", May 1977 p.140)

6 April
WINDSCALE, U.K. - Plutonium contamination blown into laboratory after a reaction between plutonium nitrate and carbon powder in a sealed handling facility. (Thieberger, p.12; Parliamentary Service Paper, Parliamentary Bookstore , Canberra)

LUCAS HEIGHTS, AUSTRALIA - Australia's first victim died as a result of being exposed to radiation at the Atomic Energy Commission's nuclear reactor at Lucas Heights. The man contracted leukemia. The A.E.C. admitted liability by paying compensation to the man's widow. Two years before the death, workers had complained of a health problem which they thought was related to their work with epoxies. ("Sun Herald", 19th June, 1977)

10 May
DOUNREAY, SCOTLAND - A reaction between water and 2.5 kilos of sodium lifted the concrete covers off a solid waste disposal facility. (Thieberger, p.12)

WINCHESTER, U.K. - Semi-trailer carrying a 15-tonne container of radioactive nuclear fuel overturned near Winchester. Five people injured. (Legislative Research Service Paper, Parliamentary Bookstore , Canberra)

HINKLEY POINT, U.S.A. - Power plant shut down until December when a pipe supplying feedwater to the main coolant system fractured. Hoses had to be rigged up to spray cooling water on the concrete shielding of the primary reactor. (Ian Breach, "Windscale Fallout", p.39)

7 October
COLORADO, U.S.A. - Nuclear alert declared near Springfield after 19 tonnes of powdered uranium-oxide fell from the back of a truck after an accident. The material was being transported from Wyoming to Oklahoma for processing. Colorado State Department later urged the N.R.C. to review its safety standards. Department spokesman said: "Luckily no other traffic came along. If cars had churned through the powder we could have been faced with a major crisis". ("West Australian", 7th October, 1977)

PIERRKLATE, FRANCE - Highly toxic gas leaked into the air from a commercial uranium fuels factory. No-one was contaminated and the situation was quickly controlled. The leak of uranium hexaflouoride at the Comurex factory is where a similar accident took place in July. ("The Herald", 26th November, 1977)

Four Commonwealth policemen died of cancer after working at the atomic bomb test site. Another two are dying of the disease. (Thieberger p.13)

MILLSTONE, CONNECTICUT, U.S.A. - Two hydrogen/oxygen explosions in the waste radioactive gas stream at Millstone Nuclear Power Station, Waterford, Connecticut, U.S.A. Chimney door blew off. One worker slightly injured and helpers contaminated with radioactivity. Reactor completely shut down. (Parliamentary Legislative Research Service paper, Parliament Bookstore , Canberra)

HUNTERSTON B, U.K. - Unprecedented failure in which 1,000 gallons of sea water leaked into the reactor. Cost of accident: 4 million pounds sterling. (Ian Breach "Windscale Fallout", p.139)

BARODA, INDIA - Heavy water factory at Baroda, 300 miles north of Bombay was partially destroyed by a series of explosions following fire. 20 injured. (Nucleus, 25th July, 1979 p.17)

COLORADO, U.S.A. - 10,000 lbs. of radioactive uranium concentrate spreads over 5,000 square miles, in some placed up to a foot deep after a truck crashes. Wrong decontamination equipment sent to area. 12 hours before health specialist on scene. ("Nation Review", 3rd May, 1979)

Truck carrying spent radioactive resins from Vermont Yankee reactor crashes. Second time in two years that a truck from Vermont Yankee was involved in a crash.

Half of the fuel assemblies melt at Beloyarsk 2 U.S.S.R. Irradiation of staff during repairs which last a year ("Nucleonics Week" 31/5/90; WISE-33; 22/6/90)

General Electric's small reactor closed because Federal officials found seismic fault near the plant. ("Financial Review" 28th February 1979)


23 January
COLORADO, U.S.A. - Newly built reactor belches radioactive helium gas into the into the sky only 56 kms. from Denver, Colorado. 15 workers suffered "light contamination". Reactor shut down. ("The Herald" 24th January 1978)

25 January
BRUSSELS,TIHANGE, BELGIUM - Contamination of up to 80 people by Iodine 131 while the reactor was being cooled for replacement of fuel. Another accident occurred in this month. (World Information Service on Energy, Brussels)

U.S.S.R. IN NORTHERN CANADA - The nuclear powered Soviet Satellite Cosmos 954 fell out of its orbit and plunged into the tundra of Northern Canada spreading radioactive material over a wide area. It contained a specially designed nuclear reactor which was fuelled by 100 lbs of Uranium 235, with an explosive power five times the force of Hiroshima. Launched on 18th September, 1977, the 954 was ill-fated from the beginning. The radioactive debris was not discovered in initial searches. DR. ROGER EATEN of the Atomic Energy Control Board warned residents of Fort Resolution not to use the top layer of snow for making tea and not to eat the bone marrow of game animals. "One orbit in the final unstable minutes could have caused it to strike near New York City". No official information has ever been released as to the purpose of the satellite. There is about half a ton of enriched uranium and a hundred or more pounds of plutonium circling overhead today. The Russians have 11 reactor models flying and the Americans have nine vehicles in orbit. (Burleson, p.243) 6 satellites have already made their re-entry complete with their nuclear centres. The dangers of nuclear-powered satellites are that the upper atmosphere could be contaminated over a wide area and on re-entry large areas could be contaminated by radiation. (Nucleus, 14/6/1978; Burleson, C.W., "The Day the Bomb Fell", Great Britain, 1980, pp 227-245).

14th February
BAVARIA, WEST GERMANY - Small amount of radioactive steam escaped from a nuclear plant being tested in Bavaria. ("The Age", 15th February, 1978)

CRYSTAL RIVER, FLORIDA, U.S.A. - Crystal River 3 plant closed for six months after defects in equipment controlling radioactivity levels in reactor. ("Nation Review", 3/5/1979)

8 March
BASQUE, SPAIN - A group bombed a nuclear power plant under construction in Basque Country. $2 million damage done. ("Tribune", 8th March, 1978)

OREGON, U.S.A. - Two workers exposed to high levels of radiation when monitoring devices fail at Jan Plant, Rainier, Oregon, U.S.A. (Nucleus, 15th July, 1979, p.17)

LENOWIZ, BILBOA, SPAIN - Four Basque Spaniards launch hand grenade attacks on nuclear power station at Lemoniz, near Bilboa, Spain. ("New Ecologist", March/April, 1978)

INDIA - It was revealed that a C.I.A. electronic spy-station was destroyed in an avalanche. It contained 1.3 kg of a plutonium isotope. The station had been placed on Nanda Deve, a mountain of the Himalayas to spy on Chinese missile bases. The Nanda Deve snow waters run into the River Ganges, and so plutonium may be washed down to the millions of people who bathe, wash and drink using the water of the Ganges. ("The Australian", 12th April 1978)

TIHANGE, BELGIUM - There was another accident at the P.W.R. reactor at Tihange, Belgium. This time a joint gave way on the primary cooling circuit, releasing radioactive steam. Workers in protective clothing tried for several days to stop the breach. Finally French specialists were brought in. The news was leaked by an anonymous phone call to Belgium Friends of the Earth. The reactor authorities denied that there had been an explosion. (W.I.S.E. No 2 p.13)

19 June
BRUNSBUTTLE, GERMANY - Reactor steam circuit broke. The security system either failed to work or was put out of action manually and at least 100 tonnes of radioactive steam escaped. News of the accident got out through an anonymous phone call. Later mesaurements indicated some 4,000 curies of radioactive inert gasses escaped (against a yearly authorized level of 3,500 curies). (A.B.C. Radio News, 25th June 1978)

28 August
ALDERMASTON, U.K. - Britain's main nuclear research station and Atomic Weapons Research Establishment was closed by Ministry of Defence, when 12 workers were contaminated with plutonium dust. Unions of the workers believed that the plutonium dust may have leaked through the plant's ventilation system. ("West Australian", 26th August, 1978) Three laundry women have suffered plutonium contamination of the lungs. The laundry deals with protective clothing in the Active area.. One of the women has not worked in the laundry for some years but she still carries a lung burden of plutonium above the permitted maximum and perhaps higher. Women in the laundry are not considered as radiation workers and are not required by law to be regularly monitored for radioactivity. (W.I.S.E. No 4 March, 1979)

TOKAI-KURA, JAPAN - Japan's nuclear reprocessing plant at Tokai-Kura closed because of leakage of radioactive waste. (Legislative Research Service Paper, Parliamentary Bookstore , Canberra)

21 October
MURUROA ATOLL, SOUTH PACIFIC - 15 Tahitians had been secretly isolated in a hospital at Mururoa Atoll for treatment of radiation sickness, following French nuclear tests in the area, according to Mr. Oscar Temaru, a Tahitian politician. ("West Australian", 21st October 1979)

VENDELLA, SPAIN - Hot water from reactor sterilizes area of 8 square kms around pipe outlet, area contamination expanding. ("New Ecologist", November/December 1978)

31 December
BELOYARSK-2, U.S.S.R. - Fire at Beloyarak-2 caused by the collapse of the turbine building roof. The control cable is completely burned and the reactor cannot be controlled. Eight people are irradiated while trying to inject coolant into the reactor. ("Nucleonics Week" 31/5/90; WISB-334 22/6/90).

2,835 accidents at U.S. nuclear plants. Every plant involved was closed temporarily at least once for safety reasons. ("National Review", 3rd May 1979)

Two leaks occurred in primary cooling system in the Hifar reactor at LUCAS HEIGHTS. (W.I.S.E. No 5, p.14)

Plutonium waste dug up after seven years because it was leaking from the barrels in which it had been buried, causing a threat to the water supply. (Penelope Coleing for M.A.U.M.)

26 August
TITAN II NUCLEAR BASE, KANSAS, U.S.A. - One man was killed and six injured when deadly fumes leaked from an intercontinental ballistic missile which were being filled with propellant. When the accident was reported gas was still leaking, forcing the evacuation of residents of Udall Rock. Reaction to the gas can range from mild to severe irritation of the eyes, ears, nose, throat and skin, to severe burns and death. The accident would have resulted in a nuclear explosion if the missile had been carrying its nuclear warhead. ("The West Australian" 26/8/1978)

The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission is only now [1989] investigating a major radioactive spill that happened 11 years ago [1978] at the Nine Mile Point 1 nuclear power plant in Oswego, New York. The NRC began its investigation in response to a story aired in August by a local TV station. The station reported Niagara Mohawk Power Corp., the plant's owner, has kept the spill secret ever since it happened. It's not yet clear if the spill was ever reported to the NRC. The contaminated area is in a radioactive waste building near the reactor, according to a confidential Niagara Mohawk report obtained by the television station. The report says a 4,000 square foot area in the building is so radioactive no one has been allowed inside since 1978. Radiation levels of up to 400 REMs per hour make it impossible for people to enter the area and the utility has only gained access to the area with a robot. The confidential report, commissioned by Niagara Mohawk, indicates that about 150 barrels, many of them containing highly radioactive sludge, had fallen off their pallets, emptying some of their contents on floors and wells. (Radioactive sludge is left over after water used in the reactor is purified). After the spill occurred, Niagara Mohawk blocked the area off and took no action to clean it up until three year ago. Nine Mile 1 has been out of service since December 1987. ("Solstice" magazine via Greennet 28/8/89; WISE-318 29/9/89).


1979 - Present
CHURCH ROCK, NEW MEXICO, U.S.A. - Church Rock Uranium Mill, New Mexico continues to leak 40,000 to 80,000 gallons of radioactive waste per month into underground squifers and streams. New Mexico officials' attempts to stop contamination resulting from a uranium tailings spill two years ago is considered a joke by affected area residents. (W.I.S.E. Vol 3, No. 4 September 1981 p.18)

Critical Mass Energy Project - Washington has compiled a listing of the 2,000 nuclear mishaps that occurred in 1979 at U.S. nuclear reactors. The list includes the type of reactor and its manufacturer.

WINDSCALE, U.K. - Residents living near Windscale Plant exposed to radiation levels 15 times more than indicated; levels double long term value recommended by I.C.R.P. ("New Ecologist", January/February 1979)

SWITZERLAND - Bomb blast wrecks building at Kaiser Augat Plant - $528,000 damage. No injuries. ("Nucleus" 25th July 1979 p.17)

U.K. - Biggest accident since 1971 contaminated ground near plant. Tens of thousands of curies of radioactive liquid released. ("Sydney Morning Herald" 24/3/1979)

2 February
SWEDEN - A blocked pipe at a nuclear power station almost caused a disastrous chain reaction accident. The blockage caused enriched uranium liquid to leak into a transport container reaching criticality of 0.83 by the time the accident was discovered. If it had reach 1, an atomic chain reaction would have been triggered off, releasing massive amounts of radioactivity and heat. Workers at the station say that the management tried to get them to keep quiet about the accident. The management said it had no idea such accidents could happen when it established the station. A plant supervisor said that such accidents happen all the time; "....only last week we had to sweep up contaminated snow after radioactive dust blew up the chimney", he said. ("Tribune", 7th March 1979)

2 February
NORTH CAROLINA, U.S.A. - The Federal Bureau of Investigation recovered 68 kgs of uranium stolen by an employee at General Electric's plant at Wilmington, North Carolina. ("Sydney Morning Herald", 3rd September 1979 - AAP Router)

U.K. - British dockyard workers exposed to radiation while working on nuclear submarines show a greater than normal incidence of damaged chromosomes. These results are based on a ten-year study. The greater the radiation dose the worker received the greater the number of cells showing chromosome damage. Damage occurs even when radiation exposures are below internationally agreed safety standards. ("New Scientist", 15th February, 1979)

14 March
U.S.A. - U.S. orders five large nuclear plants closed because of concern over their ability to withstand earthquakes. ("Sydney Morning Herald", 15/3/1979)

27 March
KARI, SOUTH KOREA - South Korea's only nuclear reactor at Kari (near Pusan) closed because of leakage of contaminated radioactive water. Malfunction of 595,000 kilowatt plant similar to the reactor at Three Mile Island. Has had cooling system troubles in the past. ("West Australian", 4th April, 1979)

28 March
THREE MILE ISLAND, PA, U.S.A. - Dangerous gas bubble formed. Risk of hydrogen explosion. Some vital instruments were exposed to more radiation than they were designed to withstand. Reactor is so highly radioactive it may never re-open. Radioactivity in reactor building is 100 times lethal level. Three Mile Island accident had 150 precedents...150 valve failures in similar reactors, a U.S. Government official told the U.S. Senate. ("Daily News" lst May 1979)

2 April
TOKAI-KURA, JAPAN - Two workers are exposed to radioactivity. (W.I.S.E. No 5 May-June 1979 p.14)

3 April
JAPAN - Explosion in fuel reprocessing laboratory. (W.I.S.E. Op.Cit)

11 April
GRENOBLE, FRANCE - Grenoble reactor automatically shut down as radioactive gas escapes. (W.I.S.E. no 5, 5/1979 p.14)

13 April
BARSEBACK 1, SWEDEN - Fire in Barseback 1 generator - shut down six months with $US50 million damage. (W.I.S.B. Ibid.)

20 April
BIG ROCK, MICHIGAN, U.S.A. - Leak of highly radioactive water in cooling system forces indefinite shut-down of Big Rock, Michigan. (W.I.S.E. Ibid.)

20 April
BORSSKLEN, NETHERLANDS - Holland's only commercial reactor closes after turbine springs leak. (Nucleus, 25th July, p.17)

LUCAS HEIGHTS, AUSTRALIA - In the controversy caused by Harrisburg, a previously unpublished report has come to light. Two million gallons of radioactive cooling water from the reactor has been dumped into the local Woronora River every month for the past 19 years. Unconfirmed reports suggest that there has been a higher than normal rate of birth defects in the local hospital. The reactor will be closed down in mid-September (1979) for repairs especially to two leaks which occurred in the primary cooling system in 1978. Workers have threatened to refuse to start the reactor as it is old, understaffed and has inadequate monitoring devices. (W.I.S.E. No.5 p.14 "Daily News" 4/4/1979)

The nuclear plant was shut down for six weeks for refueling but the N.R.C. ordered the plant to remain closed until some equipment and procedure changes were made. It was four months before it began operating again. ("The Australian" 28th February 1978)

April - U.S.A.
Nuclear Regulatory Commission ordered the closure of all Babcock and Wilcox reactors temporarily to prevent power shortages in three States. Californians Governor, Mr. Jerry Brown, has accused the Nuclear Energy Industry of lying for 20 years. ("West Australian", 30th April 1979)

ROCKEY FLATS, COLORADO, U.S.A. - In Colorado, a small fire broke out at the Rocky Flats nuclear weapons plant but was extinguished quickly. No injuries were reported. ("Sydney Morning Herald", 9th April 1979)

ZION, ILLINOIS, U.S.A. - Radioactive gas escaped into the air and released 3,200 ltr of radioactive water within the plant. Three men were sprayed; "all wore protective clothing and tests had shown no traces of contamination," a company spokesman said "It was only because of the TMI accident that they had informed the N.R.C." ("West Australian", 3rd May, 1979). Comment: "Does this mean that previous accidents were not reported?"

1 May
ZION, ILLINOIS, U.S.A. - Technical defect releases radioactive gas together with 650 gallons of water. (W.I.S.E. No.5 5/1979)

3 May
RANCHO SECO, U.S.A. - Reactor shut down. ("West Australian", 3/5/1979 )

4 May
BELGIUM - Belgium Government calls for a study of their nuclear plants. (W.I.S.E. Ibid)

5 May
DUNGENESS, ENGLAND - Dungeness plant closed after cracks found in cooling system. (W.I.S.E. Ibid; "West Australian", 7/5/1979)

7 May
BROWN'S FERRY, ALABAMA, U.S.A. - Radioactivity released into the Tennessee River as a result of a leak in the generating units cooling system at Brown's Ferry Nuclear Plant. ("West Australian", 7th May, 1979)

9 May
SURRY, RICHMOND, VIRGINIA, U.S.A. - Nuclear sabotage attempt at Surry Nuclear Power Plant. Caustic substance dumped into 62 of the 64 fuel elements through manhole-like openings in the floor of the fuel storage building. At first believed fuel rods would have to be reconstructed at a cost of $6 million but this did not prove necessary. Could have been extremely dangerous if rods were radioactive. "The Age", 10th May, 1979)

11 May
LA HAGUE, FRANCE - Man tried to kill his employer with radioactive discs which he placed under the seat of his car. Enough radiation was given off to anyone exposed to them (a dose of 10 rems per hour). Recommended life-time dose for anyone is 25 rems and annual dose of 5 rems per year. (United Preen: "The Australian" 11th May 1979)

11 May
GERMANY - Fire swept through a nuclear research centre, 100 metres from the nuclear reactor. Radioactive material was threatened by flames which burnt for 10 hours. ("West Australian", 14th May 1979) Fire in technical university laboratory, radioactive materials present and helium threatened to explode.

U.S.S.R. - Reports of prisoners dying through atomic radiation from A. Shifrin, the Director of a centre in the Soviet Union that investigates the Concentration Camps and Psychiatric Prisons in the U.S.S.R. Some of these camps are near atomic submarine bases. Prisoners from camps reportedly clean highly radioactive parts of the submarines and thus receive lethal doses of radiation. Other prisoners work in uranium mines and refineries where they are exposed to radiation. ("Baltic News", May-June 1979, based on an article "Novoye Rusakoye Siovas", a New York Periodical).

2-3rd June
ZION, ILLINOIS, U.S.A. - Zion I (1100 P.W.R.) shut-down became of indications that there may be cracks or other flaws in the unit's steam supply system. (W.I.S.E. No.6, 10/1979)

4 June
MILLSTONE 2, WATERFORD, CONNECTICUT, U.S.A. - Millstone 2 (828 P.W.R.) in Waterford shut-down to repair broken valve that had spewed radioactive steam. (W.I.S.E. Ibid.)

6 June
CADARACHE, FRANCE. - French Atomic Energy Commission reported leak in experimental reactor at Cadarache Nuclear Research Centre in southern France. ("Daily News" 6/6/1979)

19 June
SURRY, VIRGINIA, U.S.A. - Two men claim responsibility for sabotaging plant to underscore lack of security. ("Newport News", AAP/AP; "Sydney Morning Herald", 19th June 1979, Nucleus, 25th July 1979 p.17)

22 June
PEACH BOTTOM 3, PENNSYLVANIA, U.S.A - Second uncontrolled release of radioactive gas in two days at Peach Bottom, Pennsylvania Unit 3 (1065 P.W.R.) nuclear reactor. (W.I.S.E. Ibid)

25 June
DC COOK 2, MICHIGAN, U.S.A. - 1,000 gallons of radioactive coolant water spray over upper level of containment building at DC Cook No. 2 reactor (1049 P.W.R.). The reactor was being tested prior to its being put back on line after it was closed on May 19th when cracks were discovered in two feed water piping system. DC Cook No. 1 reactor is undergoing repairs for cracked pipes. (W.I.S.E. Ibid)

6 July
MURUROA ATOLL, SOUTH PACIFIC - Two people were killed last month and another four were injured in accidents following an underground nuclear explosion at France's Mururoa Atoll Test Area in the South Pacific Ocean. (Channel 9 News, Perth, 9th August, 1979 from A.A.P.)

10 July
GENTILLY 1 POWER STATION, TROS RIVIERES, CANADA - Quebec's only nuclear power Station shut down indefinitely. Hugh Spence of the Atomic Energy Control Board said that this reactor was fraught with problems from the beginning. "It is possible that Gentilly 1 will have to be closed permanently. The generating plant condemned by some scientists as a 'lemon' has functioned for only 10 days since opening in May, 1977". "West Australian" 11/7/1979)

l6 July
CHURCH ROCK, NEW MEXICO, U.S.A. - Tailings pond dam breaks near Church Rock, spilling 100 gallons of radioactive water and 1,100 tons of uranium tailings. (W.I.S.E. Ibid)

17 July
WINDSCALE, U.K. - Six men contaminated by radiation when fire broke out. A spokesman for the plant said the contamination was 'very minor' but more tests were being made on the men. He added the fire was quickly put out and there was no danger to the public. Staff were evacuated and given medical checks. (Reuter, "Sydney Morning Herald", 18th July 1979)

23 July
ALDERMASTON, U.K. - Government scientist Peter Allen killed in an explosion at Aldermaston Atomic Weapons Research Station. (W.I.S.E. No 6 October 1979)

25 July
MURUROA ATOLL, SOUTH PACIFIC - An explosion equivalent to an earthquake registering 6.3 on the Richter Scale was recorded on July 25th at Wellington Observatory. There have been about 25 tests undertaken by the French since 1975. ("West Australian" 9th August 1979)

25 July
ONTARIO, CANADA - Plant shut near Bruce, Ontario, after 90,000 litres of heavy water leaked. (W.I.S.E. Ibid)

27 July
PILGRIM 1 MASSACHUSETTS, U.S.A. - Pilgrim 1 (670 B.W.R.) reactor shut-down automatically because two valves failed to function properly when the reactor was struck by lightening. (W.I.S.E. Ibid)

30 July
RIO PUERCO, NEW MEXICO, U.S.A. - Accident in uranium processing plant. Flash flood of radioactive material washed an estimated 130 kms down the usually trickling Rio Puerco River which flows past a Navajo Indian Reservation. New York Times reported 100 million gallons of water and 1,100 tonnes of uranium tailings mishap considered largest such release in U.S. Residue from plant goes into large dam; dam burst. ("A.H." Program A.B.C. Australia 30/7/1979; "N.Y. Times" 28/7/1979 )

NAGASAKI, JAPAN - Between August 1978 and 1979, there were 106 patients suffering from radiation effects from the atomic bomb at the Nagasaki Hospital for A-Bomb victims. ("Japan Times", 8th August 1979 quoted in W.I.S.E. No.1 November/December 1979)

RADIUM HILL, SOUTH AUSTRALIA - A N.S.W. Government report on workers at Radium Hill, although not yet finalized, shows that since 1960, 598 of those who worked underground at Radium Hill over a period of two years died of cancer; showing a death rate four and a half times the Australian average. (Senator Cavanagh, Hansard, 29th August 1979, pp.378-379) Senator Guilfoyle, representing the Federal Minister for Health, (Hansard 11th October, 1979, p.216) was unable to confirm or deny this according to information she had available to her, but she was able to confirm that of the 3,000 employees, 600 had been traced; 22 who had died spent in excess of 12 months underground; 9 (40%) had died of cancer. "Nationwide" reported that the death toll is rising. Workers were contaminated with radon gas at a time when the dangers of uranium mining were internationally known. As early as 1920 radon was a known killer. Safety standard at Radium Hill were sub-standard. Host miners did not know the tremendous risk they were taking. Many miners are still not aware of the danger. None were privately informed. ("Nationwide", A.B.C. 23rd July 1979)

4th August
U.K. - Five A.G.R. reactors (Advanced Gas Cooled) have been in use in the U.K. but "after series of disastrous failures of design and equipment only two are now working. The American system of letting private companies build and run A.G.R. Stations seem more risky than the British way". ("Weekend News" 4th August 1979)

Significant levels of radon have been found in houses, schools, etc., where tailings were used for land fill and building foundations. Infant death rate for Grand Junction is 50% higher than the State average due to birth defects. (Penelope Coleing, M.A.U.M.)

5 August
NEVADA BOMB TESTING, U.S.A. - It is reported that five movie stars have died of radioactivity from atomic bomb tests fallout in Nevada conducted in 1953. John Wayne, Susan Hayward, Dick Powell, Agnes Moorhead have died along with most of their co-stars and film crew. Children in fallout area have had eukemia at the rate of 2-1/2 times the national average. ("Sunday Telegraph", 5/8/1979; "Sunday Times", 5/8/1979)

6 August
DOEL, BELGIUM - Two nuclear power plants at Doel, Belgium were closed after a cooling water pipe burst and flooded a machine room basement. (A.A.P. Reuter "Sydney Morning Herald", 7th August, 1979, Teleprinter, NDL, August 1979, "Northern Daily Leader")

8 August
THE HAGUE, NETHERLANDS - The only commercial nuclear power station in the Netherlands closed after a turbine steam bellows sprang a leak. ("West Australian", 9/8/1979 )

16 August
MARALINGA, SOUTH AUSTRALIA - The former British Atomic test site at Maralinga will not be considered safe until 2029 according to a report by the Australian Ionizing Radiation Advisory Council. Six drums of plutonium have been dug up and returned to Britain in order to meet International Atomic energy safety standards. ("West Australian", 16th August 1979)

15 August
VIRGINIA, U.S.A. - The Virginia Electric and Power Company is being fined $15,000 by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission for a safety violation involving a worker who voluntarily exposed himself to more than three times the permitted dose of radiation. The company has been fined a total of $112,400 for various violations in its two nuclear plants. ("Washington Post", 16th August, 1979)

29 August
OLKILUOTO, FINLAND - 50,000 litres of radioactive water leaked onto the floor of the reactor building causing a shutdown for six days. (W.I.S.E. Vol.2 No.2 p.18)

30 August
FINLAND - Nuclear power plant shut down because of radioactive leak. (I.H.T. 5th September 1979, W.I.S.E. No.6 p.16)

CRYSTAL RIVER, FL, U.S.A. - The N.R.C. ordered the Crystal River Plant to operate at 50% capacity following a series of brief shutdowns that the company said were caused by equipment failures. ("The Australian", 28th February 1980)

TIHANGE NUCLEAR PLANT, BELIGIUM - Tihange Nuclear Power Plant shut down because of cracked pipes. Information did not reach the press until 20th September. ("Les Amis de la Terre" in W.I.S.E. Vol.2 No.2 p.18)

3 September
U.S.A. - A Government study of 3,500 uranium miners found 200 to have already died of cancer against a rate of fewer than 40 deaths that could be expected among 3,500 people elsewhere. Most cases of miners afflicted with lung cancer, silicosia and fibrosis have not been compensated by the Government; the only customer for uranium at the time. Dr. Eisenbud, the head of the New York University's environmental medicine centre at Tuxedo said the risk to minors was totally avoidable. (A.A.P. - "New York Times"; "West Australian", 3/9/1970.)

29 September
TUCSON, ARIZONA, U.S.A. - Governor Bruce Babbit of Arizona declared a State of emergency and sent the National Guard to clean out radioactive tritium at the plant which he claimed had been leaking recurrently. Chocolate cake made in the school across the road was found to have 56,000 picocuries per litre of radioactive tritium, almost three times the official safe standard. $300,000 worth of food was contaminated by radioactive tritium. An American atomic energy official claimed the whole emergency was the result of Governor Babbit's "greed for publicity" in related incidents. (Nucleus, Vol.2 No.1 November/December 1979 p.19)

OLKILUTO 1, FINLAND - A further 15,000 litres of radioactive water leaked at the reactor. The company withheld information from the public. (W.I.S.E. Vol.2 No.2 p.18)

LOVIISA PLANT, FINLAND - The State owned power company at Loviisa announced that cracks in the mantle inside the reactor vessel had been discovered in February 1978, but had been neglected. (EVY in W.I.S.E. Vol.2 No.2)

6 October
U.S.A. - American Atomics Corporation is seeking re-organisation under Federal bankruptcy laws. (W.I.S.E. Vol. 2 No. 1 November/December 1979 from "International Herald Tribune", 10th January 1979. "Washington Post" 10th October 1979; "New York Times" 30th September 1979 and 7th October 1979)

6 October
U.S.A - Police found tiny glass tubes filled with radioactive tritium in a vacant lot near the American Atomic Corporation's factory.

9 October
FRANCE - France's most advanced nuclear reactor closed for an indefinite period because of a leak according to an Atomic Energy Commissioner. ("Newcastle Morning Herald" 13th October 1979 the only newspaper to report the incident)

10 October
RHINGHALE REACTOR, SWEDEN, - The generator shut down following malfunction in the cooling system.

13 October
WEST BERLIN, GERMANY - A nuclear power plant at Hoexter re-opened this week after a seven month closure over technical problems. It was shut down again on this day because of a faulty water pump. ("The Advertiser", 13th October 1979 p.2)

15 October
FORT ST. URAIN, DENVER, CO., U.S.A. - The Fort St. Urain reactor, 22 kms from Denver was shut down after a malfunction released radioactive gas into the atmosphere. The shut down was the third in two years due to "equipment malfunction". A spokesman for the Public Service Company of Colorado which operates the plant said the shut down occurred after helium, the primary coolant, seeped into a back-up water System. ("The Australian" 16th October 1979 from United Press)

24 October
TRICASTIN, FRANCE - Sidier Duez was killed by abnormal concentration of nitrogen and lack of ventilation at Tricastin nuclear power plant in France. (La Guele Overte in W.I.S.E. Vol.2 No.2 p.18)

THREE MILE ISLAND, PENNSYLVANIA, U.S.A. - Metropolitan Edison operator at Three Mile Island nuclear plant was fined $150,000 for accident last spring by N.R.C. The company was found guilty of 17 safety violations. (W.I.S.E. Vol.2 No.2 p.18)

30 October
LUCAS HEIGHTS, AUSTRALIA - The N.S.W. Premier, Mr. Wren criticized the Federal Government for its lack of communication over a leak at Lucas Heights, Australia's only Atomic Energy Plant. The radio news item reported a radioactive leak of tritium. The General Manager of the Commission said the leak had been isolated and the parts involved would be replaced. He said nothing had escaped from the reactor. ("The Australian" 30th October 1979)

31 October
AUSTRALIA - Bush walkers and children have access to a chemical dump at Australind where low level radioactive waste is stored. The waste is radium 228 with a half-life of six years and radium 226 with a half-life of 1,600 years. The dump is on private land about 200 metres from the Collie River where bush walkers often go. ("West Australian" 31st October 1979)

WINDSCALE, U.K. - In Britain, Government scientists will investigate whether a mysterious rise in the incidence of blood cancer in Northern England is due to "radioactive pollution from the nearby Windscale nuclear plant". 12 doctors diagnosed 12 cases of leukemia in one area, 10 victims have died. Scientists at Manchester University have found a marked rise in Leukemia deaths in Blackpool, Burnley, Lancaster and Preston areas surrounding Windscale with hardly any change over the rest of Britain. - "Another university team discovered levels of radioactivity in the adjoining Irish Sea hundreds of times greater than in other coastal regions". ("Daily News", 3rd October 1979)

RED ROCK NAVAJO RESERVATION, ARIZONA, U.S.A. - Alarming death rates amongst uranium miners caused by microscopic particles called radon daughter. 17 have died; 45-50 have pulmonary fibrosis. Dr. Joseph Wagoner's estimates of the toll through 1978 is about 200 deaths, 160 in excess "making 160 people who needlessly died due to lung cancer because we did not accept the published data that was already there for our use in the 1950's". "The data clearly indicates the inadequacy of current standards of radiation exposure in the mines". ("Daily News" 6th June 1980)

The increase in the risk of lung cancer among Navajo uranium miners is at least 85 fold. KERR McGEE, the company involved in mining at Red Rock, along with 15 other energy companies have now converged on Crown Point. Crown Point is in danger of losing its water supply because of underground mining. What water there is contains elevated concentrations of radium, arsenic and nitrate. Navajo Indians have been tricked into signing contracts handing over their land to oil companies. (NS October, 1979 p.81)

2 November
OHU 1, WEST GERMANY - Ohu 1 nuclear reactor near Landshut was shut down for two days because of leaks. W.I.S.E. Vol.2 No.2 p.18)

4 November
TAKAHANA 11, JAPAN - 'Simple' mistakes caused 80 tonnes of radioactive water to escape from the 260 tonne primary cooling system at the Takahama 11 reactor near Fukui. The accident is considered to be Japan's worst ever nuclear accident. A spokesman said defects in the temperature monitoring piping or the accidental removal of a spigot could have caused the overflow. A welded cap on one of the four monitoring pipes fell from the reserve outlet, causing coolant water to gush out. "The accident was a big surprise to us", said the spokesperson. The reactor had to be shut down for one month. ("The Australian" 5th November 1979, "West Australian" 5th November 1979)

5 November
SWITZERLAND - An explosion at Switzerland's newest and biggest nuclear power station wrecked a 100 metre high pylon. The pylon fell on an electric transformer station at Goesgen cutting power to surrounding arena. The station was due to be opened later in the month. ("West Australian", 5th November 1979)

6 November
COPENHURST, U.K. - Uranium gas accidentally released from a test rig at Copenhurst enrichment plant. (W.I.S.E. Ibid)

10 November
BUGEY, FRANCE - Chief solderer died at Bugey nuclear power plant in steam generator room filled with nitrogen. He had not been warned and was not wearing a mask. ("La Guenle Dverte" in W.I.S.E. Vol.2 No.2 p.18)

12 November
MICHIGAN, U.S.A. - The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has proposed a fine of $402,750, the largest in its history, for a Michigan power company which forgot to close the valve on a pipe leading from a reactor containment building. The containment building is intended to prevent the release of big amounts of radioactivity in the event of a serious accident. If such an accident had occurred at the plant between April, 1978 and September 1979 the radioactivity would have just poured out of the pipe. Penalty period for the plant was 18 months (compared to eleven months penalty at Three Mile Island). ("West Australian", 12/11/1979)

15 November
JAPAN - The fitting of a wrong plug in an inspection hole has caused a big quantity of water contaminated by radioactive matter to leak inside a reactor at a power plant in Western Japan. ("West Australian", 15th November 1979)

IDAHO FALLS, IDAHO, U.S.A. - The Lewiston Morning Tribunal, an Idaho newspaper, quoted an unpublished Federal report made in 1974 as saying: parts of a water supply beneath a U.S. Energy Department laboratory near Idaho Falls had been contaminated by radioactive waste. It was also claimed that big amounts of hexavelant chromium - a non-radioactive cancer-causing agent - had been released into the Snake River aquifer through injection wells. The aquifer covers 290 kms and is used for human consumption and irrigation. Between 1951 and 1970 liquid waste containing 45 million kgs of chemicals had been discharged into the ground above the aquifer. (A.A.P. - A.P. "West Australian", 12th November 1979)

FFTF, HANFORD, WA., U.S.A. - Faulty fuel rods built by Kerr MaGee are scheduled for use at the Fast Flux Test Facility (FFTF) at Hanford, Washington. The Environmental Policy Institute in Washington, D.C. has uncovered evidence that the FFTF:

1. Has not adequately met the quality assurance criteria for the reactor;

2. Has not sufficiently answered inquiries by the Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission about containment;

3. Has no evacuation plan; and

4. That some radioactive materials will continuously leak during the expected 20 years of operating life.

Public documents as well as the transcripts SILKWOOD v KERR McGEE civil suit, attest fuel pellets not properly manufactured and abuses by quality assurance employees were common. Defects in welds, quality assurance irregularities, improper record keeping and shipping practices by KERR McGEE employees confirmed. EPI asserts that to begin operation of the FFTF would pose a serious risk to the inhabitants of the Pacific Northwest, particularly the 10,000 residents of the Tri-Cities area. (W.I.S.E. November/December 1979)

At the Three Mile Island II reactor, radiation monitors in vent stacks, where most of the radiation escaped, went off the scale the morning of the accident. Nuclear Regulatory Commission officials said that the monitors located in the vent stack and the passages leading to the stack were never contemplated for use in measuring releases of the Three Mile Island variety, "so we don't really know what went up there..." W.I.S.E. November/December 1979; SECO newsletter). According to a newly-released report, as much as 20% of the core of the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant melted in the 1979 accident. ("The Age" 12/4/85)

U.S.A. - Babcock and Wilcox, builders of the Crystal River and Three Mile Island plants made a $1.1 million out-of-court settlement in addition to providing two new cooling pumps after the Florida Power Company filed a suit charging the firm with installing equipment "not fit for the production of nuclear energy". ("The Australian" 28/2/1980).

Human error evidently played a large part in the Three Mile Island accident. The N.R.C. conducted a survey that revealed that 20 of the 107 senior operators at U.S. nuclear plants were not licensed. Ten others were licensed at the wrong plants. Of all nuclear operators at 66 nuclear reactors, 53 had failed written examinations. 448 scored low enough to be required to attend special lectures to improve their abilities. The N.R.C. has called for tougher training. It was suggested one method for improvement would be to raise the passing grade on the exam from the present requirement of 70% to 80%.(Critical Mass Journal W.I.S.E. Vol.2 No.2 p.8)

WINDSCALE, U.K. - The widow of a Windscale worker whose husband died of leukemia at the age of 36 was awarded 67,000 pounds sterling by the Carlisle Crown Court. This was the first case of its type. On two previous occasions, British Nuclear Fuels Ltd. (BNFL) settled out of court while refusing to accept liability. All three cases were started by the General and Municipal Workers, which has two more cases pending against BNFL.(W.I.S.E. Op.Cit. p.14)

11 December
HANFORD, WASHINGTON, U.S.A. - Two former employees at Hanford at U.S. Senate hearings that the Energy Department and Hanford covered up reports of leaking underground nuclear waste at the Hanford site. Stephen Stalos and Allen Wegle resigned from their jobs at Hanford because of nuclear safety management technique. They said some leaks continue undetected while others are detected but not labelled as leaks by the management. In further testimony, it was stated that between 1956 and 1976 at least 20 out of the 150 storage tanks leaked over 50,000 gallons of liquid waste into the soil. (W.I.S.E. Ibid)

29 December
NEW YORK, U.S.A. - A couple, convinced that their stillborn baby was killed by radiation from Three Mile Island nuclear plant, filed for more than $20,000 compensatory and punitive damages from Metropolitan Edison, the operator of the plant. The woman was four months pregnant at the time of Three Mile Island accident. ("West Australian", 29th December 1979)

30 December
U.K. - Britain's biggest earthquake for 50 years shook reactors at Windscale, Chapel Cross, Huntereton, Cumbria and at Torneua near Dunbar, Heycham and Hartlepool where reactors are being built. Few of the reactors have been designed to withstand earthquakes. (Newspaper article by Geoffrey Lean and Brian Wilson, 30th December 1979, in International Nuclear News Service p.8)

PALISADES, MICHIGAN, U.S.A. - The Nuclear Regulatory Commission fined Michigan's Palisades nuclear power plant $45,000 for safety violations which caused radioactive leakage over an 18 month period.

Studies by Manchester University show cases of Myeloid lukemia has doubled between the late 1960's and early 1970's. No chemical cause found but cause linked with increased radioactive pollution monitored off the North-West coast. Cover-up is suspected because:

-Public secrecy after radioactive releases when reactors were used for bomb production;

-Unexplained failure to publish leukemia statistics since 1970.

These results are in line with studies in the U.S.A. where a two to three times increase in cancer (particularly leukemia) can be found in the vicinity of nuclear plants. Despite this the British Government is relaxing control on dumping of low level wastes, preparing to raise objections to high level waste dumping and proposing to raise allowable radiation exposure levels to workers and the public in line with recommendations of the International Commission on Radiological Protection. (W.I.S.E. November/December 1979)

Radioactive elements exceeding permissable units were accidentally transferred to a holding at Crystal River. ("The Australian", 28/2/1980)

A French Government/Rothchild owned multi-national corporation aptly named Amok has been given full permission by the Saskatchewan Government to develop one of the richest known uranium deposits near Carawell Lake. The rights of the Dene Indians who have treaty rights to the land have been ignored. The Government has refused to negotiate with them. (W.I.S.E. No.4 p.9)

The second annual survey of radioactive discharges by the Department of the Environment noted a marked increase in discharges of Plutonium 241 during 1979. Levels of Strontium discharges also doubled last year. In 1978, 11 tonnes of uranium were dumped into the sea. (W.I.S.E. Op.Cit. p.14)

BELOYARSK-1 U.S.S.R. - Frequent destruction of fuel assemblies at Beloyarsk-1 (108 MS). Operating staff are irradiated during repairs to the core. ("Nucleonics Week" (31/5/90); WISE-334 22/6/90)