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Accidents 1980's

1983

January
BORSELES, AMSTERDAM - The Borseles nuclear reactor was shut down and evacuated after a leak in the "secondary system was found". Radioactive water escaped but was not considered dangerous. ("Financial Review" 5/1/1982)

January
BROWN'S FERRY, TENNESSEE, U.S.A. - The biggest nuclear power station in the U.S. leaked radioactive water at a rate of 2200 litres per minute into the Tennessee River. The Browns Ferry plant, owned by the Tennessee Valley Authority, was put on alert when the water, used for cooling the reactor, leaked. ("West Australian" 18th January 1983)

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January
NEW YORK, U.S.A. - U.S. nuclear plants may be using faulty parts supplied by a now bankrupt company. ("Daily News" 24/1/1983)

February
WINDSCALE, U.K. - The 1957 Windscale reactor disaster - Britain's worst nuclear accident - may have caused up to 260 cases of thyroid cancer, 13 of them fatal, according to the National Radiological Protection Board. ("Daily News" 21st February 1983)

February
KOZLODUJ, BELGIUM. - The primary cooling system lost coolant and pressure due to valves in the pressure vessel being stuck in the open position. The reactor shut down automatically and an emergency cooling system had to be turned on to remove residual heat, with the danger that the cold water flooding into the hot core would cause "thermal shock", creating extremely high pressures which could have split open the reactor. Cause of the near catastrophe - improper grounding of cables. ("Der Spiegel" 20/4/87, WISE NC 275 12/6/87)

March
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - A fire which almost burnt down a building containing radioactive waste raised the question of the safety of storing such substances in inner city arena. ("The Age" let March 1983)

March
NINE MILE POINT, NEW YORK, U.S.A. - Workers evacuated the reactor building at the Nine-Mile Point nuclear plant when a five hour alert was caused by a radioactive spill. ("West Australian" 17th March 1983)

March
NEW YORK, U.S.A. - The N.R.C. said the failure of a New Jersey plant to shut down automatically twice last month was the industry's worst safety mishap since Three Mile Island. ("West Australian" "The Age" 17/3/1983)

March
BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - The Federal Government will investigate the disposal of radioactive sands in Queensland after "Hot" sand was found in a school playground. ("Daily News" 28th March 1982)

April
MARALINGA, AUSTRALIA - British journalists claim they have evidence that aborigines were exposed to nuclear fallout during the British A-bomb tests between 1953 and 1962. They say aborigines were blinded, burnt and may have died in some cases, because of contamination. Classified documents say radioactive Cobalt-60 pellets were left scattered around the test site and the Ministry of Defence admitted that fallout from 'Totem 1' tests passed over aboriginal encampments 160 km to the north east of the test site. ("West Australian" 4/4/1983)

April
INDIAN POINT, NY., U.S.A. - The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency reported that plans for coping with an accident at the Indian Point nuclear reactors near New York have two major flaws and the safety of 288,000 people living within ten miles of the reactors could not be guaranteed. The plants have already missed deadlines for correcting flaws and debate has occurred whether or not they should be shut down. ("Financial Review" 19th April 1983)

April
NEW YORK, U.S.A. - The first stage of a Trident missile, test-fired from a submarine, blew up after a malfunction. ("West Australian" 21st April, 1983)

April
SAN FRANCISCO, CA., U.S.A. - The multi-billion dollar nuclear powered and nuclear armed aircraft carrier U.S.S. Enterprise. ran aground in San Francisco Bay. The whole ship's company of 3,000 men stood on one side of the ship to try to re-distribute the weight and float it off. ("The West Australian" 30th April 1983)

April
MURUROA ATOLL, SOUTH PACIFIC - The French start a new series of tests at Mururoa Atoll. 91 explosions have occurred so far and the atoll is showing signs of structural damage. Stories of radioactive waste leaks and increased cancer figures in local inhabitants continue to emanate from the area. ("Daily News" 21st April 1983 "West Australian" 22nd April 1983 "Sunday Independent" 24th April 1983)

May
WORLD - In a book about political terrorism, criminologist Dr. Grant Wardlaw said atomic installations would become prime targets for terrorists. He said security at such places was weak and terrorist groups may become more desperate to attain their political goals. ("Sunday Independent" 1/5/1983)

May
RANGER, DARWIN, AUSTRALIA - Mussels taken from billabongs in the Alligator River's uranium province contain high radium concentrations. It is not yet known whether the high concentrations are natural or from the nearby Ranger uranium mine. ("West Australian" "The Age" 25th May 1983)

January
CZECHOSLOVAKIA - Information from the Austrian Daily Courier and said to be confirmed in Czech opposition circles revealed that thirty Soviet soldiers died in a nuclear explosion in Czechoslovakia on May 24, 1983. The explosion was probably a Soviet short range nuclear missile. Radioactivity readings by Czech authorities supported the nuclear industry. ("West Australian" 16th January 1984)

June
EMBALSE, ARGENTINA - Due to a valve failure, water in the secondary circuit overheated. A shut-down cooling system was improperly turned on, setting off vibrations which caused pipe displacement to 20 cm. More than 3 hours later, mechanics working in the pump room, surrounded by steam and waters, managed to close the offending valve with a tool they had feverishly produced on the spot. Cause of the accident - a missing screw. ("Der Spiegel" 20/4/87, WISE NC275 12/6/87)

June
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - A Commonwealth Serum Laboratories expert said large amounts of a tasteless fish toxin which causes an incurable disease were likely to be released from French nuclear tests. The disease, ciguatera, causes diarrhoea, vomiting and other discomfort. The disease was one reason why there was little commercial fishing in the Pacific. ("The Age" 24th June 1983 West Australian 25th June 1983)

June
FRANCE POLLUTING ANTARCTICA - Nuclear debris from French tests at Mururoa Atoll have been found in the Antarctic. ("The Age"/ "Daily News" 28th June 1983)

July
TMI, PA., U.S.A. - Around 2,500 litres of radioactive water spilt in an accident at the Three Mile Island nuclear plant. No workers were reported contaminated. ("West Australian" 12th July 1983)

July
U.S.A. - Nuclear Regulatory Commission findings have revealed small cracks in the cooling pipes of thirteen nuclear power plants which could lead to meltdowns. Although the plants can resume operations after patching the cracks, a permanent solution will coat hundreds of millions of dollars to replace the pipes entirely. All the reactors were made by General Electric. Another five reactors suspected of having the came problem were advised to shut down within 30 days for inspection. The shutdowns were the first ordered by the NRC since 1979. ("The West Australian" / "The Age" 16th July 1983)

July
TENNESSEE, U.S.A. - A Jet carrying low-level radioactive materials crashed and burnt on landing in Tennessee. ("The Age" 18/7/1983)

July
U.S.A. - Crossed wiring in a key piece of safety equipment in the largest nuclear utility in the U.S. has caused increased surveillance at the plant. ("West Australian" 21st July 1983)

July
U.S.A. - A private research group in the U.S., the Fund for Constitutional Government, reported that US nuclear ships have leaked radiation at least 37 times. The leaks contaminated coastal and inshore waters of Japan, Britain, and the U.S. on more than a dozen occasions. The report accused the U.S. Navy of "suppressing information about a 30 year history of radiation accidents and safety problems". ("The Age" / "West Australian" 21st July 1983)

The U.S. Navy rebutted claims made by the Fund for Constitutional Government that it had numerous accidents causing radiation leaks which it tried to cover up. ("The Age" 22nd April 1983)

July
MOSCOW, U.S.S.R. - A serious accident occurred at a reactor factory which will affect the Soviet civil nuclear power program. The accident is related to the establishment of a safety committee [reported above.] ("The Age" 21st July 1983)

Summer
U.S.S.R., NORTH PACIFIC - Soviet submarine sank in the North Pacific killing 90 on board, the Associated Press reported, citing US Intelligence officials. (WISE NC262 31/10/86)

August
LONDON, U.K. - The latest nuclear power station built in Britain had shut for a week only five days after starting operations due to a steam leak. A spokesman said there was no radiation or threat to the public. The cost of the plant has risen from the original $A425 million to $A1156 million and the Central Electricity Generating Board said the plant would have to operate for 30 years at full power to pay for itself. ("The Age" 9th April 1983)

August
U.S.S.R. - C.B.S. reported that a Russian nuclear submarine sunk with around 90 men on board. C.B.S. said the hull has been raised. The Soviets lost a nuclear submarine in 1970 and a diesel-powered submarine in 1974. The U.S. lost nuclear submarines in 1963 (U.S.S. "Thresher") and 1968 (U.S.S. "Scorpion") with a total loss of 228 men. ("West Australian" 12th August 1983)

August
CANADA - 3,700 litres of radioactive tritium leaked into Lake Huron and Lake Ontario from Canadian nuclear power stations. ("Financial Review"; "The Age" 8/8/1983)

August
TMI, PENNSYLVANIA, U.S.A. - Records of radioactive leak tests at the undamaged reactor at Three Mile Island may have been tampered with, according to an N.R.C. report. ("The Age" 8th August 1983)

September
WINDSCALE, U.K. - An official report said 33 people may have died from the Windscale nuclear plant accident in 1957. ("West Australian" 29th September 1983)

September
BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA - An operator was killed by a massive radiation dose at a nuclear power plant. The incident was a prompt "critical" accident and the man received a radiation dose similar to people at Hiroshima and died two days later. It is claimed to be the first death attributable to the civil nuclear industry. ("The Age" 3rd September 1983) COMMENT: This death is the first attributed to the civil nuclear industry but radiation experts have long contended that numerous deaths due to cancer in nuclear industry workers and local residents have resulted from nuclear sources.

RANGER, DARWIN, AUSTRALIA
About 200 employees at the Ranger uranium mine went on strike for a week over safety issues. Workers were concerned about dust levels. ("Financial Review" 4th September 1983)

October
LONDON, U.K. - British nuclear waste will be stored in a diffused chemical mine beneath homes and factories at Billingham, near Riddlesborough and also 95 kms from London. Residents of the area are unhappy. ("West Australian" 24th/27th October 1983)

October
ONTARIO, CANADA - A nuclear reactor in Ontario will be closed for at least 10 days after springing a leak. The reactor was only opened 6 months ago. ("Daily News" 31/10/1983)

TMI, PENNSYLVANIA, U.S.A.
The Metropolitan Edison Power Company, former operators of the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant, have been charged on 11 counts of criminally faking test results done before the accident in 1979. The plant is now managed by CPU Nuclear Corporation, a subsidiary of General Public Utilities Corporation, the parent company of Metropolitan Edison and half owner of Three Mile Island. ("Daily News" 8/11/1983; "West Australian" "The Age" "The Financial Review" 9th November 1983)

November
NEW DELHI, INDIA - Jellyfish closed a nuclear power plant in India by blocking pipes bringing coolant from the sea. ("West Australian" 9th November 1983)

November
RANGER, AUSTRALIA - Home Affairs and Environment Minister Cohen reported one major accident at the Ranger mine between April 1982 and June 1983 when two workers were knocked over by a spillage of yellowcake in the packaging room. They had received a radiation dose around a years allowance. Eight other minor incidents were reported at Ranger and two at Narbalek. ("West Australian" 10th November 1983)

November
LUCAS HEIGHTS, AUSTRALIA - A bomb was planted near the Lucas Heights nuclear plant. It was dismantled by explosives experts. ("West Australian" 18th November 1983)

November
WINDSCALE, U.K. - A stretch of coast near the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing plant has been contaminated by radioactive waste. ("Financial Review" "West Australian" 21st; "The Age" 22nd November 1983)

ATOMASH, MOSCOW,U.S.S.R.
Bad planning and erosion problems threaten the USSR's biggest nuclear reactor manufacturing plant called Atomsah and worth $4,000 million. ("The Age" 30th November 1983)

November
U.S.S.R. - Soviet Victor III Clara nuclear submarine disabled in Atlantic between Bermuda and South Carolina and towed to Cuba for repair. (WISE NC262 31/10/86)

December
RANGER, AUSTRALIA - The Ranger uranium mine will leave a tailings pile 200 hectares in area and 30 to 40 metres high. This was revealed at a symposium on radioactive waste management which discussed various related issues including borosilicate glean, the principal waste disposal method. Professor Ringwood, developer of SYNROC has said the borosilicate method is unsafe. ("Financial Review" 1/12/1983)

December
ATOMIC CITY, PEKING - China admitted a serious nuclear accident at Atomic City in the Gobi Desert in 1969. 20 workers were exposed to severe radiation. ("The Age" 7/12/1983)

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