Go to Home Page
  Key Issues Nuclear Weapons Issues Accidents: 1980's

Accidents 1980's

1984

HIROSHIMA, JAPAN
The Japanese memorial to victims of the Hiroshima atomic blast is to be rebuilt because it has run out of room for names of victims. The bomb was reported to have killed 200,000 people in the first five years. The annual toll of people who die from after effects of the bomb is now about 5,000. The final total is calculated at about 506,000 people. ("West Australian" 5th January 1984)

January - U.S.A.
The US Supreme Court reinstated damages of $10.5 million to the family of Karen Silkwood. It was ruled Miss Silkwood's family was entitled to the money from Kerr-McGee Corporation for the nuclear contamination of Miss Silkwood. ("Financial Review" 13/1/1984)

Printer Friendly


To Sort
Back to Nuclear Accidents Home
Sources


January
NEW YORK, U.S.A. - 36 crewmen of the US aircraft carrier U.S.S. Independence were tried over the use of LSD on the ship. ("Daily News" 13th January 1984)

COMMENT: Drug use by military personnel involved with the use of nuclear weapons is a reason for great concern. Between 1975 and 1977, 15,067 military personnel were removed from access to nuclear weapons: of those 4,809 were removed for drug abuse.

January
NEVADA, U.S.A. - Mormons living near nuclear testing grounds in Nevada have shown unusually high incidence of cancer. Mormons normally have an unusually low cancer rate due to diet and lifestyle. ("West Australian" 14/1/1984)

January
BYRON, IL., U.S.A. - US Government safety officials refused an operating license to the Byron nuclear plant near Rockford, Illinois. The plant, worth $3.7 billion, was rejected because of a lack of assurance in quality due to a history of non-compliance of NRC requirements. The owners, Commonwealth Edison Co., can ask the NRC, (Atomic Safety and Licensing Board) to reconsider, appeal to the licensing appeal board or appeal to the five man NRC itself. The decision by the NRC is the first time in the nuclear industry's 25 year history an application for an operating license has been flatly rejected. ("West Australian" 16/1/1984)

January
WORLD - The world nuclear power industry received two major blows in one week with the South Korean decision (see separate item) and developments in the US along with Reagan's decision to pull out of President Carter's plan for energy self-sufficiency based on nuclear power. The Carter plan required an increase in nuclear power generation and the development of a breeder reactor program, but the breeder program failed to get Congressional support in 1983. The Marble Hill plant, where $2.5 billion has already been spent, has been abandoned - the costliest failure in US nuclear industry history. The Byron plant has also been halted. The Shoreham plant of the Long Island Lighting Co., The Zimmer Plant of Cincinatti Gas and Electric Co. and the two Seabrook plants in New Hampshire are also expected to fail. The US nuclear industry is now at a virtual standstill. The closures in the US and South Korea will substantially cut back uranium demand to likely cause price falls. These developments will affect Australian uranium projects. ("Financial Review" 18th January 1984)

January
LONDON, U.K. - A Jaguar fighter crashed near Britain's top secret chemical defense establishments at Parton Down where research into germ and chemical warfare is carried out. ("West Australian" 19th January 1984)

January
WILLIAM H. ZIMMER, OHIO, U.S.A. - The Cincinatti Gas and Electric Co. owners of the William H. Zimmer nuclear plant, announced they would try to convert the plant to coal operations. Construction started on the plant in 1972 and it was 97% completed but the NRC halted all but safety related work in 1982 and the utility company found they would have to spend another $1.5 billion (on top of $1.6 billion already spent) to satisfy Federal safety regulations and open in 1986. It will be cheaper to convert to coal. ("Financial Review" 23rd January 1984)

January
U.S.A. - Hundreds of workers at the US's largest nuclear plant have been laid off and a reactor closed down because of concerns about maintenance and repair capabilities. The workers at the Brown's Ferry plant in Alabama were laid off due to numerous violations of NRC rules. ("Financial Review" 25th January 1984)

January
U.S.A. - The US nuclear power industry is in deep trouble. 82 plants currently supply 65,000 megawatts of electricity, around 12% total demand. Coal plants supply 55% total demand. It is expected that only a few of the plants still under construction will be completed. All these events will cause further problems for the uranium sellers. ("Financial Review" 26th January 1984)

February
NEW YORK, U.S.A. - A 25 cent coin caused a loss of $150 million in revenue when it fell into the generator of a nuclear power plant. ("The Age" 2/2/1984).

February
CALIFORNIA, U.S.A. - As an addition to the fiat of atomic power plants violating Federal safety regulations, Diablo Canyon plant is continuing to be a major embarressment to the nuclear industry. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is due to vote in 10 days time on whether to restore the plant's operating license, but firstly has to determine the validity of employees charges of gross design and construction errors. Although this project was launched 17 years ago, no power has as yet been generated. ("The Age" 8th February 1984)

February
DIABLO CANYON, SAN FRANCISCO, CA,. U.S.A. - A failsafe system of nuclear attack sirens malfunctioned, setting the Midland city into a state of shock, and causing distress to many people. ("Daily News" 9th February 1984) COMMENT: Events like this should alert people to potential panic which would break out in the event of a REAL nuclear attack.

February
INDIAN 2, NY, U.S.A. - The Indian II nuclear power plant in Buchanan was shut down after radioactive water started to leak into its steam generating system. The plant is expected to be closed after radioactive water started to leak into its one litre of water per minute seeping into the heat exchanger. ("Daily News" 13th February 1984)

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSA
Malaysia has announced a five-year ban on the export of monkeys after the discovery that many of the animals were being used in nuclear and chemical warfare experiments. Malaysian export policy is based on agreements signed with importing institutes that monkeys are only used for pharmaceutical experiments. However, investigations have revealed that some Malaysian monkeys were used in US air force experiments in which they were exposed to passive doses of neutron radiation, subjected to varying degrees of electric shocks and forced to run on treadmills until they died. ("The Age" 17/2/1984)

February
WINDSCALE, U.K. - A stretch of Cumbrian beach contaminated by radioactive waste last November is still closed as a precaution. According to reports, the contamination was exacerbated by inadequate instruments to monitor the plants operations, and poor communications between staff. ("The Age" 16th February 1980)

February
NEVADA, U.S.A. - Nuclear accident in the Nevada desert has left one man critically ill and eight others in hospital. It occurred during an underground nuclear test and involved technicians who were measuring the effects of the blast. The accident happened when the explosion caused a delayed cave-in. ("Daily News" 17/1/1984)

February
LONDON, U.K. - Labour MP Roland Boyes claims that a nuclear war could be started accidentally by American servicemen affected by drugs. Fourteen US air force personnel have been returned to the US from Greenham Common on drug-taking charges. ("Daily News" 28/2/1984)

March
DAVIS-BESSE, OHIO, U.S.A. - A mishap at the Davis-Besse nuclear plant in Ohio triggered the siren alarms installed at governmental direction following the Three Mile Island accident in March 1979. The siren was set off by a failed valve which stuck on an open position after the reactor, which was operating at 99 percent power, tripped because of another malfunction. A Nuclear Regulatory Commission Official said that "because the valve stuck open, the steam generator was emptied of water normally circulated through the reactor to keep it at a safe temperature". The official went on to any that the plant is in a 'stable' condition due to the excess heat being removed through an identical sister steam generator. ("West Australian" 5/3/1984)

UTAH, U.S.A.
A recent study in the "American Medical Journal" has reported a cancer rate in the town of St. Georges of almost double that of Mormons in the rest of Utah. St. Georges is a Mormon town in south-west Utah near where 87 open-air atomic bombs were tested between 1951 and 1962. ("The Age" 14th March 1984)

March
JUAREZ, MEXICO - A radioactive spill in Juarez, Mexico which occurred on December 6th was not discovered until a month later when over 200 people had been exposed to radiation, five of them to lethal levels. The spill occurred in a junkyard where a cancer-therapy machine was dismantled. ("The Age" 23rd March 1984)

March
U.S.S.R. , U.S. OFF KOREA - A US Navy aircraft carrier collided with a Soviet nuclear submarine off South Korea. The collision is expected to exacerbate East-West tension. ("The Age" 23rd March 1984)

March
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - Monash University has refused to release confidential documents under the Freedom of Information Act. The documents relate to 46 students who were exposed to excessive doses of radiation during experiments into the effects of snake bite. The University's registrar has refused to provide any documents which reveal personal details of the volunteers on the grounds of confidentiality and that publication would be contrary to public interest. The Monash Association of Students has appealed to the County Court. ("The Age" 29th March 1984)

March
SEABROOK, NEW HAMPSHIRE, U.S.A. - Although 23 per cent completed, the second reactor in the Seabrook nuclear power project in New Hampshire appears to be close to cancellation. The unit has already cost a consortium of 16 New England utilities more than 2.5 billion, but some analysts any that the original projected $1 billion cost could soar as high as $8.5billion. If construction is terminated, financial pressure will have done what thousands of protectors failed to achieve during the 1970's. ("Financial Review" 20th March 1984)

April
ALDERMASTON, U.K. - An inquest is being held to decide whether a scientists' death resulted from his exposure to plutonium while working at the Aldermaston atomic weapons research based in 1965. ("Daily News" 10th April 1984)

May
MEXICO - The full dimensions of a radioactive spill in Mexico are still unknown, yet officials say that radiation released was 100 times more intense than that the Three Mile Island accident. ("The Age" 2nd May 1984) COMMENT: Although safeguards may be enforceable in the US, the implications of establishing nuclear induatries in developing countries are horrendous.

May
NEW YORK, U.S.A. - A Federal Judge has ruled that nuclear tests in Nevada caused cancer amongst some people who lived downwind. The tests were carried out between 1951 and 1962 and caused 375 cases of cancer. ("Daily News" 11/5/1984)

May
MARALINGA, ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - According to a 1979 report by the ecological Survey Unit of the SA Department of Environment, rabbits are almost certain to burrow into pits containing 20kg of plutonium at Maralinga. ("National Times" llth-17th May 1984)

ROXBY DOWNS, ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA
One of the 15 containers of uranium-copper ore from Roxby Downs due to be loaded on a ship bound for Finland is leaking. Some of the containers were also inadequately labeled. ("West Australian" 19/5/1984)

May
U.S, OFF U.K. - A US nuclear-powered submarine collided with barrels containing nuclear waste dumped on the seabed off the South West coast of England. ("The Age", "Daily News" 29th May 1984)

May
FLORIDA, U.S.A. - A Pershing II missile test launched at Cape Canaveral on May 16 suffered a guidance failure in the final seconds of flight and, despite hitting its target area, was out of control when it crashed. ("West Australian" 4th June 1984)

May
U.S.S.R. - A massive explosion in mid-May at the Soviet Union's Northern fleet is believed to have destroyed a quarter to a third of the fleet's surface-to-air missile stockpile and several cruise missiles. ("The Age" 23rd, "Sunday Times" 24th, "West Australian" 25/6/1984)

June
STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN - Sweden has begun the construction of the world's first nuclear waste depot under the seabed. ("The Age" 7th June 1984)

June
MARALINGA, AUSTRALIA - Radiation experts will check two halls and a school bulldozer which Coober Pedy residents fear could be contaminated from the atomic tests at Maralinga. ("The Age", "The West Australian" 18th June 1984) Britain secretly tested radioactive plutonium devices at Maralinga despite a moratorium on atmospheric tests. ("Daily News" 18th June 1984)

June
VERMONT YANKEE, U.S.A. - The Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant was placed on "alert emergency status" for four hours yesterday after a radiation monitoring device malfunctioned. ("West Australian" 18th June 1984)

June
FORKED RIVER, NEW JERSEY, U.S.A. - The first ever sale of an abandoned nuclear plant began yesterday at the Forked River plant in New Jersey. The plant was abandoned after $455 million had been spent on the project. ("West Australian" 21st June 1984)

June
MARALINGA, AUSTRALIA - According to a report in 'The Times' U.K., mentally retarded people were used in the nuclear tests at Maralinga. ("West Australian" 21st June 1984)

COMMENT: This report demands further investigation. If retarded people were used as guinea pigs for atomic tests, what other horror stories are yet to be revealed?

Jun
KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA - The cargo warehouse at Kuala Lumpur airport was closed after a solid radioactive electronic component imported via Singapore from France was found to be damaged. No leak was found. ("West Australian" 21st June 1984)

June
MARALINGA, AUSTRALIA - More than 90 radioactive 'hot spots' have been identified on the British atomic bomb test site at Maralinga. ("West Australian" 30th June 1984)

July
PERTH, AUSTRALIA - An inquiry commissioned by the State Government into the mineral sands industry has called for more vigour in keeping radiation levels as low as possible. The report said that tailings had been spread and used as landfill at Capel and Geraldton (West Australia). Radiation levels at Wonnerup were 10 times the limit. ("The Financial Review" "The West Australian" 27th July 1984)

July
PERTH, AUSTRALIA - A report into the mineral sands industry and radio-active monazite tabled in State Parliament by the Minister for Health warns that radio-active thorium has the potential to make nuclear weapons. ("Daily News" 30th July 1984)

August
LUCAS HEIGHTS, AUSTRALIA - Toxic gas escaped from the Lucas Heights atomic research centre through a ventilation shaft last month. ("The Age" 6th August 1984)

August
PERTH, AUSTRALIA - A British Airways jumbo jet was grounded at Perth Airport due to fears that a radioactive package may have leaked. ("Daily News" 7/8/84 "The Age", "The West Australian" 8/8/84)

COMMENT: Radioactive packages are commonly transported on commercial flights. The radioactive Iridium which leaked aboard a British Airways jet was not properly secured in its heavy casing which meant that it would emit radiation through the container walls. ("The West Australian" 9/8/1984) The Public Health Department has concluded that possibly only one person was exposed to radiation from the leaking Iridium consignment taken from a London-bound jet. ("The West Australian" 10/8/1984)

August
BRUNO LEUSCHNER 2, GERMANY - The primary circuit in Unit 2 leaked because new washers were not set in correctly. ("Der Spiegel" 20/4/88, WISE NC 275 12/6/87)

September
BELGIUM - The sunken French freighter, Hont Louis, has broken open and spilt come of its cargo in rough seas. ("Daily News" 11th September 1984) Greenpeace members have found a container of uranium hexafluoride on a beach near Dehaan, 10 kilometres north of Ostend, Belgium. The container is presumed to be part of the cargo of the sunken Mont Louis. ("The Age", "The West Australian" 12/9/84, "Daily News" 13/9/84)

September
MARALINGA, AUSTRALIA - The President of the Royal Commission into the British bomb tests, Mr. Justice McClelland, was surprised to find that there was so much radioactive material outside fenced areas at the Maralinga test site. On visiting the atom-bomb test sites, he said that the radioactive material was in areas that had been declared safe in 1967. ("The Age", "The West Australian" 13/9/1984)

PHILLIPINES
A $2.5 billion nuclear power plant in the Phillipines, scheduled to commence operation in January, has not undergone full safety checks and is sited near several volcanoes and in an earthquake zone, according to critics. President Marcos has refused to listen to suggestions of an independent investigation into the safety of the plant and has referred to matter to the Philippine Atomic Energy Commission, which is under his jurisdiction. ("The Age" 19th September 1984)

668. 1984, September - U.S.S.R. OFF JAPAN

A nuclear disaster was apparently prevented yesterday when a Soviet nuclear-armed submarine was forced to surface in the sea of Japan after a suspected fire in its missile silos. It appears that the crew had narrowly prevented the missiles from launching themselves. ("The Age" 22nd/24th September 1984)

October
MARALINGA, AUSTRALIA - Two unused atomic bombs were buried in the desert in South Australia, the Royal Commission into British atomic testing in Australia was told today. ("Daily News" 10/10/84, "The Age", "The West Australian" 11/10/84)

October
BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - Up to 130 44-gallon drums containing radioactive waste may have been dumped off the Queensland coast, the McClelland Royal Commission into British atomic venting was told yesterday. ("The Age", "The West Australian" 12/10/84, The Age. 13/10/85

October
WILUMA, W. AUSTRALIA - Crumbling drums of 'hot' uranium ore have been abandoned on Aboriginal hunting grounds near Wiluna, 750 kms north-east of Perth. ("Daily News" 19-23/10/84, "The West Australian" 31/10/84)

October
SAN FRANCISCO, CA., U.S.A. - The Federal Emergency Management Agency in Washington has condemned a report by the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory in California (recognized as the western World's leading nuclear weapons research centre) suggesting that people could protect themselves during a nuclear attack by jumping into swimming pools wearing heavy clothing. ("The Age" 26/10/84)

ZIMMER, OHIO, U.S.A.
The owners of Simmer nuclear plant, which failed to pass the Nuclear Regulatory Commissions checks, are attempting to convert the plant to a coal-fired station. ("The National Times" 26/10 - 1/11/84)

November
U.S., AUSTRALIA, U.S.A. - High levels of radioactive fall-out were recorded in Australia, but kept secret by the U.S. Government after a suspected South African nuclear bomb test in 1979. ("The National Times" 2-8/11/84)

November
KALKAR, WEST GERMANY - A sodium fire occurred at the fest breeder reactor under construction at Kalkar in the Federal Republic of Germany near the Dutch border. According to official reports, the accident occurred when argon gas was vented from a sodium holding tank and drew 190 litres of sodium with it to the roof of the reactor building. When the sodium came into contact with the moisture it ignited and 100m2 of the temporary roofing caught fire. ("Atom" Mar/Apr 85, WISE NC 223 1/3/85)

BOHUNICE, SWITZERLAND
4 accidents within one year, including escape of radio-activity coolant from the primary circuit into the safety area. ("Der Spiegel" 20/4/88, WISE 12/6/87)

1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989