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Accidents 1980's

1988

January 13
  FUKUSHIMA, JAPAN - A fire broke out the morning of 13 January at Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in Futaba, Fukushima Prefecture. Police reported that it was put out about 40 minutes after it began, without causing any "serious damage" or leakage of radioactive materials. ("Japan Times" 14/1/1988)

January
MARALINGA, AUSTRALIA - According to "New Scientist", a group of 6 army officers were deliberately exposed to radiation in 1956 at Britain's nuclear testing site at Maralinga, Australia. The officer in charge, Major Duncan Janisch, decided that his men should not wear protective clothing to have some idea of the amount of contamination picked up by the average survey

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party and of the degree to which this contamination can be removed by brushing and other simple means. The documents are the first to confirm that servicemen were deliberately exposed to radiation in the U.K. tests. ("British Nuclear Tests Veterans", "New Scientist" 7 Jan 88, WISE 287 19 Feb 88, p.8)

January 23
DUNGENESS, ARG2, UK - Two tons of carbon dioxide used to cool the No.2 AGR at Dungeness on the south-east coast of England leaked from a broken seal on 23/1/1988. A CEGB spokesperson said that "it was a very low level of radioactivity -- a very normal kind of industrial accident". The reactor was kept running and no site emergency was announced. ("WISE" London)

January 23
HANAU, GERMANY - On January 23 during an incident at RBU (Reactor Fuel Company) in Hanau, FRG, a worker came in contact with enriched uranium oxide. In a press release RBU stated that health risks for the worker can be excluded. They said that "these kinds of machine interferences are part of an operation according to the regulations". ("TAZ" 29 Jan 1988)

January
(CHERNOBYL) MEXICO - Mexico has returned 3,000 tonnes of radio-active milk powder to Northern Ireland. ("LaVoz del Interior" 31/1/88, WISE NC 288, 4/3/88)

February 2
RANGER, AUSTRALIA - A spill of contaminated material on 2 Feb embarrassed the operators of the Ranger uranium mine in the Northern Territory of Australia only hours before a national Senate team came to inspect safety there. ("WISE" Glen Aplin)

February
UK - British Nuclear Fuels (BNF) is planning to fly regular consignments of Plutonium to Japan from Preatwick in Glasgow, beginning in 1992 despite fears of nuclear accident or terrorist attack. ("Financial Times Energy Economist", SCRAM Journal, WISE NC 287 19/2/88)

February
HAMAOKA 1, JAPAN - The two recirculation pumps in the primary coolant circuit at Hamaoka Unit 1 in Shizuoku Prefecture, Japan stopped simultaneously due to the failure of an electro-magnetic relay in the power line. The accident, which occurred 1 February 1988, should have resulted in an emergency shutdown. However, the reactor not only did not shut down automatically, but the operating crew failed to respond quickly to shut it down manually. ("Nuke Info Japan" Mar/Apr 1988)

February
GORLEBEN, GERMANY - In the intermediate waste disposal site at Gorleben FRG, cracks were found in two barrels filled with irradiated metal parts from a research reactor. According to BLG (Fuel Disposal Gorleben) no radioactive gas was emitted through the two centimetre large and fifteen centimetre wide cracks. BLG is going to check all storage barrels thoroughly. (TAZ 3 February 1988)

February
MULHHEIM KAHRLICH, GERMANY - Nearby the nuclear plant Muhlheim Kahrlich, FRG, a 54.2% increase of radioactivity was measured by the environmental group ARGUS, who have surrounded the nuclear plant with four monitoring instruments. ARGUS assumes that radioactive gas has been emitted deliberately. (TAZ 8 February 1988)

February 9
ROBERT E. GINNA, CANADA - A worker at the Robert E. Ginna Nuclear Power Plant fell inside the containment area, injuring his back and suffering what the utility that runs the plant says is minor radiation exposure. ("Montreal G azette" 10 February 1988)

March
SCOTLAND, UK - A survey carried out this year in Scotland claims that levels of radioactivity in certain areas are now as much as six times higher than any previously recorded in Britain. ("The Scotsman" 23 Mar 88, WISE 22 Apr 88 NC 291)

March
TASMANIA, AUSTRALIA - Tasmanian Minister for Envronment, Peter Hodgman, has imposed a ban on flushing low-level radio-active isotopes used in Antarctic Research into the Derwent River. 70 other Tasmanian institutions will now be included in the ban. Tasmania plans to return the radio-active isotopes to Lucas Heights, where Mr. Hodgman said he has seen low level waste stored in 44 gallon drums inside a galvanized iron clad building. ("Times" 6th March 1988)

March 
OSWEGO, NEW YORK - U.S. most expensive nuclear plant at Oswego, New York State, automatically shut down 2 days after being opened, due to a water pump malfunction. ("Financial Review" 15 March 1988)

MARCH/APRIL
BARODA, INDIA - An explosion and fire occurred between two synthesis gas purifiers at the Baroda heavy water plant in India. The plant will be shut down for two months for investigation into the cause of the accident. Baroda has a history of problems which according to industry experts will further cripple heavy water production. ("Nucleonics Week" (US) 24 March 1988)

Apri1 11
(U.S.S.R. NAVAL) NORWAY - The reactor in the Soviet nuclear submarine that sank off the north coast of Norway on 11th April 1988 has been reported by Soviet authorities to contain 2 kg Plutonium-239, 420,000 curies Strontium-90 and more curies Caesium-137. The submarine sank in waters 2000 metres deep, killing a large portion of the crew. ("Aftenposten" Norway 12/2/90; WISE 329 9/3/90 ) -

April
(CHERNOBYL) GERMANY - A study carried out by the Justices Liebig University in Giessen, West Germany shows a link between an increase in abnormal births among goats and fall-out from Chernobyl. (Irene Hall, Morg Engraben, WISE 1/Apr 88).

April
(CHERNOBYL) TURKEY - About 45,000 tonnes of radioactively contaminated tea are causing a headache for Turkish officials. More than a third of the harvest from 1986 could not be used despite an attempt by the Turkish Government to diminish the risk posed by the Chernobyl contaminated tea. (WISE-Berlin, WISE NC 290 1 Apr 88)

April
(CHERNOBYL) USA - Statistician Jay M. Gould, a fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington DC, has suggested that high death rates in the US during the period May to Aug. 86 were a direct result of radioactive fallout from the Chernobyl accident. ("Northern Sun News" (US) 3/88, WISE NC 291, 22/4/88)

April
USA - More than 26,000 mishaps have occurred at US reactors since the Three Mile Island accident 9 years ago, despite promises by the nuclear industry and the Federal Govt to tighten safety standards for nuclear power plant. Almost 3,000 of these mishaps occurred in 1987. These findings are revealed in "1979-1987 Nuclear Power Safety Report" the latest in a series of safety reports from Public Citizens Critical Mass Energy Project. Much of the information was obtained from documents through the Freedom of Information Act and from the NRC's public documents room. According to a 1984 NRC report, as many as 35% of all reportable mishaps are simply not being reported. ("Public Citizen News" Mar 88, WISE NC 291 22 Apr 88)

April
OHU 1 AND PHILLIPSBURG, GERMANY - 2 military airplanes crashed near the nuclear plant Ohu I and Phillipsburg in West Germany within less than 24 hours. (TAZ 31 Mar 1988/2 Apr. GRAEL Press Release 6 Apr 88, WISE NC 292 6 May 88)

April 20
BIBLIS B, GERMANY - Following the explosion of a switch in a 220 kilowatt line in the nuclear plant at Biblis, Unit 8 underwent emergency shutdown. (WISE 6 May 1988)

March 6 
ST. LAURENT DES EAUX, FRANCE - There was an emission of radioactive gas "at the wrong moment" at St Laurent den Eaux nuclear plant. (Magnuc 29 Feb/6 Mar 88, WISE Intel 3/88, WISE NC 292 6/5/88)

April
UK - British Defence Ministry officials admit they have no idea how or when to dispose the Navy's outdated nuclear submarines. Although the nuclear reactors will be removed the hulls will still be radioactive. (Sydney Morning Heralds 1/4/88)

May 
USA, ATLANTIC - A 14-ton canister of uranium gas en route to the U.S. rolled overboard in rough waters in the mid-Atlantic. The news of the accident was reported in a weekly sheet read by Mariners, but not carried by the wire services. According to the New York based Radioactive Waste Campaign, it is "apparently common for container ships to lose cargo in heavy seas". ("Waste Paper" (US) Fall 1988, WISE NC 4302, p6. 25/11/88)

May
USA - The U.S. nuclear industry, helped by pro nuclear US Senators, are trying to stick taxpayers with $8.8 billion in unpaid fees accrued by nuclear utility companies. That's the figure the U.S. Dept of Energy says utilities owe for the cost of enriching uranium fuel for nuclear reactors since 1984. That figure does not include decommissioning costs for 3 Federal uranium enrichment plants estimated to be about $3 billion. ("Redwood Alliance", "Eco News", May 1988, WISE No 292, 6th May 88)

July 23
TMI 2, USA - A member of the defuelling team at Unit 2 of the Three Mile Island Nuclear plant fell partway into the reactor vessel. ("The Patriot News" (US) 23/7/88, WISE NC 302 p.6 25/11/88)

May 13
USA - According to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission another radio-active device containing 40 curies of Iridium-192 dropped out of a moving truck. ("Waste Paper" (US) Fall 1988, WISE NC 302, p. 7, 25/11/88)

May 25
PROJECT 1, 3, TEXAS - Houston Lighting & Power Co's South Texas Project 1 nuclear plant has been shut down for an as yet undetermined period in the wake of an accident on May 25, in which the shaft at one of the unit's 3 steam driven main feed water pumps sheared off, sending debris flying "all over the place". ("Nucleonics Week" 2/6/88, WISE 15/7/88)

1988
SCK, BELGIUM - The Belgium Committee for Security and Health has revealed the existence of several "irregularities" involving a waste water tank at the Nuclear Research Centre in Belgium (sea). Water leaking from the tank has caused contamination of the ground water. 80 tonnes of radio-active slime was found on the bottom of the leaking tank showing a contamination of 37 ggb = 16 grams of Plutonium. SCK does not admit to finding this an extraordinary level of radio-active contamination. ("De Standeard" Belgium, 27/29 May 1988, WISE 15/7/1988)

June 2
KANSAI, JAPAN - A Japanese prefectural Govt spokesman disclosed that a routine safety inspection at 3 PWRs at the Kansai Electric Power Co revealed a total of 174 cracked bolts in the primary cooling systems. The cracks are believed to be caused by stress assisted corrosion. ("Japan Times" 2 Jun 88, WISE 291 2/9/88)

June 6
GENKAI, JAPAN - Primary cooling water was discovered leaking inside the container building of the No. 1 reactor at Genkai Nuclear Power Plant in Genkai Saga Prefecture. ("Japan Times" 8/6/88, WISE 6/7/88) Leakage of primary cooling water was discovered at Reactor 1 of the Kyushu Electric Power Co's Genkai Nuclear plant in Japan. The leak was due to a crack in a piping system and caused by metal fatigue. ("Japan Times" 15 Jul 88, WISE NC 297, 2/9/88)

June
(CHERNOBYL) ITALY - According to the radiation measurements of ENEA (The Italian Directorate Nuclear Safety Health Protection) of June 88, meat, noodles, bread, milk and cheese are still contaminated by Chernobyl fallout. (AMICI delis Terra, Italy, MA Nuova, Ecologia, Italy, Lega per l'Ambiente, Italy, WISE NC 291 22/Apr 88).

June
AKEM, HANAU, GERMANY - A worker was contaminated with Uranium and Plutonium-oxide at a fuel plant Akem at Hanau, West Germany. (TAZ (FRG) 28 Jun 88, WISE 6 Jul 88)

June
KAPL, NEW YORK, USA - A parking lot at Knolls Atomic Power Lab (KAPL) in New York is contaminated with radio-active waste, yet workers have been permitted to work there, even though AEC and the US Dept of Energy knew the radio-activity was far above Federal and State limits and may pose a health hazard. ("Schenectady Gazette" (US) 22/1/88, WISe p.4 NC 303, 9/12/88)

June
PROJECT 1, SOUTH TEXAS, USA - A loss of off site power test at the South Texas Nuclear Project-1 reactor in the US had dismaying results for plant operators. A steam generator feedwater pump, the only one of three operating at the time, apparently sheared at the shaft, throwing a piece of the shaft out of the building and into the station yard. Damage was said by the NRC to be so great that the cause of the failure may never be fully known. Also during the test, problems occurred with a number of circuit breakers. The NRC did note that the test was "otherwise successfully completed". ("The Nuclear Monitor" (US) 27/6/88, WISE NC 298, 23/9/88)

June
VARENNES, CANADA - A company in Varennes, Canada has temporarily stopped selling radioactive waste as landfill because, says director of the plant Jacques Bureau, news reports about the practice have worried people in the area. 'We're doing this', he went on to say 'out of respect for the people here, but we hope to start selling the material again soon.' According to a Canadian Environment Department official, the waste is five times more radioactive than the minimum level at which a product can qualify as a "toxic waste" under provincial and federal regulations. ("Montreal Gazette" 19/6/88, WISE NC300, 21/10/88)

June, July
USA - The Radioactive Waste Campaign a public interest group based in New York, has released a 170-page report documenting the massive contamination problems at all 16 of the Department of Energy's (DOE) major production facilities for nuclear weapons in the US. The report was released just about the same time DOE was itself releasing estimates on the massive costs of cleaning up those sites - $US40 billion to $100 billion. Included in the report's findings:

1. Billions of litres of radioactive water dumped routinely into the ground each year at the Hanford reservation, in Washington State, contaminating the Columbia River.

2.Similar dumping at the Savannah River plant in South Carolina; radioactive fluids poured into seepage basins designed to leak at a steady rate.

3. Underground nuclear explosions contaminating the aquifers near the Nevada test site and some radioactive fallout that drifted as far as Salt Lake City.

A two-year study by nine researchers concluded that there is "a pattern of gross mismanagement by the department, which is allowing radioactivity to leak out of the sites through soil, water and air - in many cases intentionally". The costs of cleanup, even at their highest, have already been found by Congressional researchers to be far too low, as they don't reflect tens of billions of dollars needed to dispose of highly radioactive waste from the production of the bombs, from decontamination of the reactors producing the bomb fuel, and the cost of building plants to continue bomb production. ("Waste Paper" Summer 1988, "Toronto Globe & Mail" 7/6/88, "New York Times" 2 - 13 July 88, WISE NC298 23/9/88)

July
PALO VERDE, AZ., USA - A fire in an auxiliary transformer at Palo Verde-1 (US) cut off power to all four reactor coolant pumps in early July. ("Nucleonics Week" (US) 14 Jul 88, WISE NC 299 - 7/10/88)

July
ARIZONA, USA - The radioactive contamination of the Rio Puerco River in the US State of Arizona is still being 'studied' while Navajo residents suffer still. The results of a report released in July said that the Rio Puerco has so much radio-activity in its sediment that drinking from it would pose a health risk at certain times. There is a long history of uranium waste water being dumped into the Rio Puerco. On the Western side of the Navajo reservation downstream in Little Colorado, water ( from samples ) there is also unsafe to drink - a result of another uranium mine. ("Gallup Indep" 19/7/88, WISE NC 299, 7/10/88) .

July 13
ALMARAZ 1, SPAIN - A 200 litre/hr radio-active gas leak was detected in a steam generator at the Almaraz 1 reactor in South-West Spain. ("Power in Europe" (U.K. ) 15 Sep 88, "Nucleonics Week" (US) 21 Jul/18 Aug 88, WISE NC 299 7/10/88)

July 13
SHIMAN, KASHIMA, JAPAN - According to Japan's National Reaources & Energy Agency, a wiring error in a protection shut down at the No 2 reactor at Shiman Nuclear Power plant in Kashima, Shiman Prefecture. Caused by plant designer's faulty wiring diagram when copying the blueprint. ("Japan Times" 15/Jul/88, WISE 297, 2 Jun 88)

August
CATAWBA 2, USA - Catawba-2 was shut down after a tube leak in one of the unity 4 steam generators increased from 74 to 98 gallons per day over a two-day period. ("Nucleonics Week" 18/8/88, "Nuclear Power Reactors in the World" Apr 86 Edition, WISE NC 299, 7/10/88)

August 
USA - A study written by a firm involved with the Shippingport reactor dismantling project says that decommissioning the current generation of Light Water Reactors (LWRs) in the US could produce 81.5 million cubic feet of low-level radioactive waste by the year 2034. ("Nucleonics Week" 4/8/88)

August
SOUTH CAROLINA, USA - A US nuclear reactor used in weapons production went out of control briefly the 2nd week in August as operators, trying to restart it after a 4 months shutdown, were boosting power to sustain a reaction. (UPI/Greenpeace/Greenlink 19/8/88, WISE 2/9/88 p.6)

August 11
OAK RIDGE, TN., USA - The U. S. Department of energy ( DOE ) has suspended commercial shipments of Tritium for the second time in four months because of another unexplained loss of the material. Following Govt released documents which showed that 3/4 of a test shipment of Tritium (a key ingredient in nuclear weapons) was lost between buildings at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. According to the documents released 25th October 1989, investigators did not rule out theft as cause of disappearance. When workers at Oak Ridge loaded 28,615 curies of Tritium into a shipping container at one building and sent it to another (there are approx. 9,464 curies in a gram of Tritium). When it was returned 14th November, 1988 only 6,364 curies were found to be in the container (22,000 curies or just over 2 grams had disappeared). No leaks were found and no evidence that the incorrect amount of Tritium had been loaded into the container. The shipment took an unexplained 3 months to get from one building to another. (JD Mann via Greennet, 28/10/89 and Robert Burns, Assoc. Press via Greennet gp.press 26/10/89; WISE-320 3/11/89).

August 13
CATTENOOM 1, FRANCE - Cattenoom-1 experienced 3 "anomalies" during its first "complete" inspection outage in August. On August 13th, a leak was detected on one of the containment overpressure valves, most likely due to failure of a seal. On August 17th, the spent fuel storage pool was mistakenly connected to the water storage tank, resulting in the emptying of approx. 120 cubic meters of pool water and the lowering of its level from 14 metres to less than 13 metres before operators noticed the problem and rectified it. ("Nucleonics Week" (US) 6/10/88 p.7, WISE NC 302, 25/11/88)

August
NINE MILE POINT 1, NEW YORK, USA - A worker at the Nine Mile Point-1 reactor in New York apparently swallowed a small radio-active particle of Cobalt-60. The particle - approx. one-microcurie - was detected after the worker set off an alarm when leaving the radiation area. The utility operating the plant is trying to determine the source of origin of the material and how the worker, who was wearing a face shield while under the vessel, came to ingest it. ("Nucleonics Week" 11/Aug/88, WISE 297, 2/9/88)

August
NORMANDY, FRANCE - A vehicle transporting a gamatron containing Caesium-137, intended for use in verification of solders, disappeared in Normandy France at the beginning of August. A week later the van had still not been found, but the gamatron had been located, intact, in a local garbage dump. ("Le Monde" (France) 10/8/88, "Liberation" (France) 11/8/88, WISE NC298, 23/9/88)

September 1
CALVERT CLIFFS, MD., USA - A worker drowned in the condensate storage tank at Baltimore Gas & Electric Co's (BG & E) Calvert Cliffs while trying to rescue a worker who was suffocating in the tank. ("Nucleonics Week" (US) 29/9/88, WISE NC 302 25/9/88)

September
MAPS 2, INDIA - A heavy water leak inside the reactor vessel shut MAPS-2, the 2nd unit of the Madras Atomic Power Station in India. ("Nucleonics Week" (US) 6/10/88, WISE NC 302, 25/11/88)

September
JAPAN - In one of the 1st attempts to "chase" and watch nuclear fuel carrying trucks in Japan, 27 people on a bus tour detected unusually high levels of radiation coming from those trucks. ("Gensuikin News", WISE 297, p.6 2/9/88 )

September
LONDON, UK - Recently leaked documents have forced the UK's Central Electric Generating Board (CEGB) to at last admit to serious problems with its Advanced Gas Cooled Reactors. The documents report on the problem of severe vibrations in the fuel rods if they are removed while the reactor is running at full power. The vibrations are so violent that there is a risk that the fuel rods could break and fall to the bottom of the reactor where they could cause a serious accident. ("NENIG Briefing No 15", WISE NC 297, 2/9/88 p.5)

September 1
TOKAI, JAPAN - Seven workers at the nuclear processing facility in Tokai, Japan were contaminated with Plutonium and Caesium while working near a room used to machine-process enriched Uranium. None, the spokesman said, received harmful amounts as they were all below the 50 rems per year that can be "tolerated by the human lung". ("Japan Times" 3/9/88, WISE NC 298, 23/9/88)

September 4
LITHUANIA, USSR - A flash fire at the Ignalina nuclear power station in Lithuania severed cables used control and monitor the reactor, triggering an automatic shutdown. A Soviet official, quoted by the Tass news agency, said there were no injuries and there was no radiation leak from the 5 year old reactor which Soviet energy publications describe as the largest in the world. The reactor, located approximately 400 miles west of Moscow, is a carbon copy of the one at Chernobyl in the Ukraine that exploded in April 1986. (Charles Mitchell, UPI, 5 Sept 87) WISE NC 298, 23/9/88)

September 17
UK - A young man was killed on a bypass 25 miles from Exeter U.K. in an accident involving a nuclear weapons convoy. ("Sanity" (U.K.) Nov 88, WISE p.3 NC 303, 9/12/88)

September 17
KENSAI 2, JAPAN - A radio-active leakage occurred at Kensai Electric Power Co's Takahama, 2 PER in Fukui Prefecture, when primary cooling water leaked into the secondary cooling water due to cracks developing in the small tubes of one of the three steam generators. The leaks caused radioactive gas to be released into the air. ("Nuke Info" Tokyo, Sept/Oct 88, WISE NC300, 21/10/88)

1988
KAKADU MT., AUSTRALIA - Because of an abnormally low rainfall on the Northern Territory during Australia's wet season, more than a third of the tailings in the dam at the Ranger Uranium Mine are now exposed to the atmosphere. The normally high rainfalls of this season usually provide enough water to keep the tailings at least wet enough to prevent their being blown about. Now these tailings are subject to winds capable of carrying radioactive dust particles over tens of kilometres across the Kakadu National Park which surrounds the mines, and could reach the township of Jabiru where 1,200 people live. In addition to the danger posed to Jabiru by radioactive dust particles being blown about the park, the Kakadu is visited by more than 100,000 people annually. Twelve percent of them tour the Ranger mine and must pass the tailings dam to get there. (Friends of the Earth, Fitzroy, Australia; WISE NC298 23/9/88 )

September 17
OHIO, USA - Officials at the 'Feed Materials Production Centre', a facility in southwest Ohio, US which processes uranium for nuclear weapons, said that 35 workers may have been exposed to Plutonium when 11 barrels of nuclear waste were opened there. (Greenpeace/Greenlink 18/8/88, WISE NC298, 23/9/88)

October 
CALIFORNIA, USA - Mono Lake, a high desert lake in east California in the US, has apparently been assaulted for several years by midnight dumpers of nuclear waste, according to a recent study conducted by Columbia University researchers,. Their report suggests that nuclear waste was dumped into the lake during the 1950s and perhaps again ten to 15 years later. ("Citizen Alert", WISE NC302 21/10/88)

October 11
BERKELEY MAGNOX, GLOUCESTERSHIRE, UK - A worker was injured when fire broke out at one of the two Berkeley Magnox reactors in Gloucestershire in the U.K. ("Western Daily Press" (U.K.) 13/10/88, WISE NC 302 p.7, 25/11/88)

October
HEYSHAM A2, USA - A boiler tube leak at the HEYSHAM A2 advanced gas-cooled reactor on October 19, allowed 44 gallons of water to escape into the carbon dioxide coolant. ("Nucleonics Week" (US) 29 Oct 88)

October 26
SAVANNAH RIVER, SC., USA - At the Savannah R. nuclear materials plant in the US, traces of plutonium were found on 18 employees. Plant officials suspect an exhaust stack leak was responsible. (Greenpeace via Greenlink 21/11/88, Greennetlgn Nuclear 21/11/88, WISE NC 302, p6, 25/11/88)

October 27
KANSAI 1, JAPAN - No. 1 reactor at Electric Power Co's nuclear power station in Fukui Prefecture was manually shut down because radiation leaked into the secondary coolant from a steam generator. Ultimately some of radiation leaked into the environment through the steam generator. ("Japan Times" 28/10/88, WISE NC 303 Dec 88)

November 11
MURMANSK, USSR - The official Soviet trade newspaper Vodhy Transport reported on 18th February that the melting of nuclear fuel aboard the twin reactor nuclear icebreaker, "Rossiya", had been narrowly averted, preventing a nuclear accident in the northern port of Murmansk. Murmansk is a leading Soviet freight port on the Barenta Sea, a base for Soviet fishing fleets, and is the largest city north of the Arctic circle with a population of 419,000 people. ("UPI" press report (via Greenpeace, Greenlink) 20/2/1989; WISE-309 24/3/89).

November 
TOTORI, JAPAN - According to information received by Kyodo News Service, a high incidence of deaths from lung cancer has been observed among miners and local residents living near former uranium mines in Totori Prefecture, Japan. ("Japan Times" 8/11/88, WISE p.5/6 NC 303 9/12/88)

November
OLDBURY, UK - An accident at another of the U.K.'s aging Magnox Nuclear Reactors has only just come to light, despite the fact it occurred a year ago. An electrical failure at the Oldbury Power Station caused the loss of coolant to one of the 2 reactors and resulted in the build up of heat in the reactor. (NENIG Briefing No 22 (Scotland) 9/88, WISE NC 302, p7, 25/11/88)

November
RANGER URANIUM MINE, AUSTRALIA - Originally dismissed as trivial by Northern Territory Mines & Energy Minister B. Coulter, this has been declared as a serious accident by the Office of the Supervising Scientist - who wants Ranger prosecuted. Just under half a million tonnes of high level radio-active waste has been dumped in an area reserved for low-level radioactive waste as a result of equipment failure, which went unnoticed for six months. This equipment was supposed to indicate if a load was radioactive or not. It is claimed that radio-active water will contaminate release pond no. 4 which is periodically pumped into the environment and the Alligator River region. Dr Glen Riley, Director, Office of the Supervisory Scientist, states "I regard this situation as the most serious deficiency shown by the Ranger in the long series of malfunctions and operational shortcomings since the mine opened". ("ABC 7.30 Report" 21/24 January 1989.)

December 8
CHALK RIVER, CANADA - An estimated 500 litres of heavy water spilled into the Ottawa River at Chalk River Nuclear Laboratories in Canada. The river supplies drinking water to Canada's capital city, Ottawa, and surrounding communities. ("Edmonton Journal" Canada 17/12/88; WISE-305 20/1/89).

December 
UK - There are 1250 nuclear sites licensed by the U.K. Dept of Environment to discharge radioactivity into the environment on a routine basis. However, because of a secrecy clause in the 1960 Radioactive Substances Act the public is unaware that these sites exist and there is no published data on the amount of radiation discharged. (WISE NC 303 p.6)

December 
USA - Ten employees at a US irradiation facility were exposed to radiation. Three had measurable radioactive contamination on their clothes, in their automobiles and in their homes. The contaminated areas were removed and stored at US-RSI (Radiation Sterilizers Inc) waiting 'low level' radio-active waste disposal. Extensive radioactive contamination was also found in the admin. offices in 27 areas. 70,000 medical supply containers and milk containers plus all that were irradiated between Apr 29 - June 4 were recalled. The RSI complex houses a total of over 12 million curies in the 252 capsules of Caesium 133 it uses as its radio-active source system to sterilize medical supplies. Due to abnormal discolouration in the vicinity of the welds at the end of the capsules, 129 of these capsules are suspected to be leaking. (RWC Waste Paper(US), WISE NC303 p.2/3, 9/12/88)

December
BURGHFIELD, BERKSHIRE, UK - An explosion occurred at the Burghfield Atomic Weapons Estab. in Berkshire, U.K. This facility assembles and dismantles nuclear warheads. ("The Guardian" U.K. 3/12/88, WISE NC 303 9/12/88)

1985 - 1988
OAK RIDGE, TN., USA - Commercial shipments of Tritium from Oak Ridge were suspended in July, while the D.O.E. and U.S. Regulatory Commission were conducting investigations into the discrepancies the amount that was recorded shipped and the amount actually received by customers. The discrepancies dated back to 1985 and the difference amounted to approx. 5 grams. No explanation has ever been found for these losses. (JD Mann via Greennet, 28/10/89 and Robert Burns, Assoc. Press via Greennet gp.press 26/10/89; WISE-320 3/11/89).

October 27
DARLINGTON, CANADA - Barely three weeks after start up, the Darlington Tritium Recover Facility in Canada had its first tritium accident. On 27th October a spill of tritium gas into three unoccupied rooms at the facility ceased the evacuation of the entire plant. According to a utility spokesman, workers were not exposed and the tritium 'puff', as he described it, did not get into the environment. Nevertheless, the facility was shut down. Whether the shutdown was because of the "puff" or for other reasons is still unknown. ("Nuclear Awareness Project Newsletter" Canada, Fall 1988; WISE-305 20/1/89).

1988 September - 1989 September 
EUROPE - 584 'major' incidents have been reported to the IAEA, (International Atomic Energy Agency) since it began its inter-governmental reporting system. In the period of September 1988 to September 1989 there were 420 incidents reported in France. In 1988 the nuclear power plants in Eastern Europe reported a total of 532 outages. ("Herman Damveld" The Netherlands; WISE 323/324 22/12/89).

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