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Accidents 1980's

1989

January 1 - 6
FUKUSHIMA 11-3, JAPAN - Fragments of a broken recirculation pump found their way into the reactor vessel at the Fukushima 11-3 BAR (1,100-MW). According to officials this is the first of this kind in Japan. The unit first experienced minor vibrations on January 1st. Then on January 6th while the plant was running at 990 ME, one of its two recirculation pumps developed wild vibrations.
By the end of February the engineers found that a 100-kg bearing in the pump was dislocated and damaged and part of the turbine components were destroyed. At least 10 fragments were found at the bottom of the reactor vessel, and 13 more inside the jet pump. Metallic elements were found on 61 of the reactor's 764 fuel assemblies. ("Nucleonics Week" (US) 9/3/89; WISE-310 14/4/89 ) .

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UPDATE - Later it was believed that the damage is even more serious than reported previously. TEPCO's investigation has discovered that metal pieces have been found on 122 of the 764 fuel assemblies, and not 61, as originally reported by "Nucleonics Week" 9/3/89. And investigators have found an additional 91 loose pieces of metal inside the reactor, as well as metal dust on an additional 15 fuel assemblies. If the pump had been kept operating longer it could have resulted in a loss of coolant accident (LOCA). A LOCA through such a large fracture could well cause a core meltdown. ("Nuke Info Tokyo" (Japan) Mar/Apr 1989; "Japan Times" 8/4/89. WISE-311 28/4/89).

934. 1989, 3rd January - OCOMKE-1, U.S.A.

On January 3rd an electrical breaker apparently caught fire in a turbine building at Unit 1 of the nuclear station as workers were bringing the plant back on line. ("Ass. Press" US via Greenlink 5/1/89; WISE-305 20/1/89).

935. 1989, 7th January - SOUTH CAROLINA, U.S.A.

A worker testing the turbine generator at the Robinson reactor accidentally fed hydrogen gas into the plant's air systems. ("The Nuclear Monitor" US 23/1/89; WISE-309 24/3/89).

936. 1989, 18th January - SAVANNAH RIVER, AIKEN, SC., U.S.A.

Eight workers were contaminated with radiation at the Savannah River Plant (SRP) in Aiken, South Carolina. Six construction workers, a Department of Energy (DOE) inspector and a Health Department employee picked up radioactive particles on their shoes and in their hair. Neither the source of the contamination nor the type of radioactive material have been identified. ("Guardian" US 1/2/89; Public Citizen. 2/89; "Greenlink" gp.press 17/25/28 Feb and 4/2/89- WISE-307 24/2/89).

937. 1989, 22nd January - SAVANNAH RIVER, SOUTH CAROLINA, U.S.A.

Another accident occurred four days later during the pressure test of a cooling system. Although no radiation leaked, half of the system's piping was damaged. ("Guardian" US 1/2/89; "Public Citizen" 2/89; "Greenlink" gp.press 17/25/28 Feb and 4/2/89; WISE-307 24/2/89 ) .

938. 1989, 5th Februry - SAN SALVADOR, EL SALVADOR

Three employees of the Delmed Company, which operates a medical sterilizer in San Salvador, received whole body radiation doses on the order of 400 to 600 rads, enough to cause acute radiation sickness and probable death. More individuals may have been exposed. The exposures resulted after one component of the radiation source had fallen out of the source rack and was lying unshielded in the irradiation room. Since the radiation monitors had been disabled, workers entering the room unknowingly received a high radiation dose. ("RWC Waste Paper" US, Spring 89; WISE317 8/9/89).

939. 1989, February - GRAFENRHEINFELD, SCHWEINFURT, BAVARIA

An incident at the 1300 ME Grafenrheinfeld nuclear power station was reported in the category E for Urgent after a defect was discovered in one of the reactor containment control systems. The "urgent" category is used in West Germany to describe a fault that could have "potential but not immediate effects". A few days before the incident it had been reported that radioactivity in the primary circulation at the same plant was raised because of a damaged fuel element, "with the result that more radioactive inert gas had been released into the environment". ("Power in Europe" (U.K.) 16/2/89; WISE-309 24/3/89 ) .

940. 1989, February - FMPC, FERNALD, OHIO, U.S.A.

Contamination of two employees from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) at a DOE weapons facility have led to an order barring all EPA inspectors from that plant. The plant, the 'Feed Materials Production Centre' in Fernald, Ohio, processes uranium for nuclear weapons. The EPA placed the plant off limits to its inspectors on February 9th after tests showed agency personnel attending meetings at Fernald had been exposed to uranium oxide. ("Guardian" US 1/2/89; "Public Citizens" 2/89; "Greenlink" gp.press 17/25/28 Feb and 4/2/89; WISE-307 24/2/89).

941. 1989, 25th February - NORTH ANNA 1, VIRGINIA , U.S.A.

North Anna-1 tripped off because of failure of a feedwater control valve air line. ("Nucleonics Week" 2/23 Mar 89 WISE NC 309 24/3/89).

942. 1989, March - PALO VERDE 2, ARIZONA, U.S.A.

Palo Verde-2 tripped due apparently to failure of one of its two master feedwater controllers which caused rapid fluctuations in steam generator levels and an apparent overcooking of the primary system. ("Nucleonics Week" 2/3/89; WISE-310 14/4/89).

943. 1989, 2nd March - LA SALLE, U.S.A.

A transformer failure at one of the La Salle units caused the other unit to trip. ("Nucleonics Week" 30/3/89; WISE-310 14/4/89).

944. 1989, 9th March - BIBLIS, GERMANY

The Ministry for the Environment and Reactor Security in the state of Hessian, said emergency water pumps used to cool one of the Biblis nuclear reactors and part of the reactor's emergency power supply were found to be defective when technicians tried to fix a leak in a water pump. ("Nuclear Notes" WISE NC 308 - TAZ (FRG) 11/3/89; Greenpeace Press (Greenlink) 13/3/89; WISE NC 309 24/3/89).

945. 1989, 13th March - ST. LAURENT DES EAUX, FRANCE

This Electricite den France plant was the site of the worst known accident at a French nuclear plant to date. (WISE 3/11/1989)

946. 1989, March - SELLAFIELD, U.K.

During operations to dump down radioactive dust in a disused corridor prior to decontamination and decommissioning, a small amount of liquid contaminated with Plutonium and Americium leaked through the floor to the the work area below. According to BNFL, the plant operators, contamination marginally exceeded the notification level and there was no release to the outside environment or contamination of personnel. (Atom (U.K.) Jan 1990; WISE 326/7, 9/2/1990)

947. 1989, 7th April - SOVIET SUBMARINE, OFF NORWAY

The Soviet submarine which caught fire on 7th April and sank off the coast of Norway carried two nuclear-tipped torpedoes as well as its nuclear power plant. 42 of the 69-member crew died in the disaster. (UPI via Greenlink/gp.press 20/4/89; WISE-311 28/4/89).

948. 1989, April - IKATA-1, JAPAN

22 of the 48 fixing bolts of the primary coolant pump outlet vanes were found to have developed cracks as well as damage to 12 steam generator tubes. 9 of the control rods of the unit had to be replaced during a periodic inspection made by the owner Shikoku Electric Power Co. following a sit-in by citizens groups at the company's Head Office demanding a halt to the reactor's operations. The damage demonstrates further that problems with aging facilities are becoming more serious. ("Nuke Info" Tokyo May/June and Jul/Aug 89; "Nuclear Power Reactors in the World" Apr 1898 Edition; WISE-320 3/11/89).

949. 1989, 19th April - LITHUANIA, USSR

An accident was reported to have taken place on April 19 at the USSR's biggest nuclear power station, the Ignalina plant in Lithuania. According to a Lithuanian journalist quoted in a Dutch newspaper Volkskrant, a fuel rod was dropped during loading, causing a hole in the bottom of the cooling water reservoir. ("volkskrant" (No) 22/4/89; WISE-311 28/4/89).

950. 1989, 20th April - U.S.S. IOWA

An explosion on April 20 in a gun turret aboard the "USS Iowa", a US battleship armed with Tomahawk missiles, could have posed a greater danger, had the blast been stronger or in a different gun turret. The Iowa carries 32 Tomahawk sea-launched cruise missiles. ("Greenpeace-USA"; WISE-311 28/4/89).

951. 1989 - UPPER NEYFORD, BRITAIN

On May 9, at the US Air Force Upper Neyford base in Britain, jet fuel being dumped from an F-111 with engine trouble, ignited, causing a large fire-ball just over the base. It could have been a serious nuclear accident had the emergency landing failed, as there were nuclear weapons on the base. ("Disarmament Campaigns" (Netherlands) June 89, WISE-315 7/7/89 )

952. 1989, 11th May - WINFRITH, U.K.

Some clothing fibres contaminated with traces of cobalt were discharged from the laundry used to clean protective clothing by penetrating through a hole in the metal filter fitted to the tumble driers exhaust, while others had by-passed the filters. The investigation team concluded that contamination had been contained within the site fence. (Atom (U.K.), Jan. 1990; WISE 326/7, 9/2/1990)

953. 1989, lst June - TOKAI, JAPAN

Natural uranium in three polyethylene bottles caught fire Tuesday night in the nuclear fuel storage room of a uranium enrichment laboratory in Tokai, Ibaragi Prefecture, Japan. Each bottle, which has a capacity of 3 litres of waste, contained 10 to 30 kg of waste uranium. ("The Japan Times" 1/6/89; WISE-315 7/7/89 )

954. 1989, 4th June - FUKUSHIMA-2, NORTHERN JAPAN

On June 4, 4,080 litres of radioactive cooling water at twice boiling temperature leaked from a boiling water reactor at Tokyo Electric Power Co's Fukushima No. 2 nuclear plant in northern Japan. The reactor, a BOOR, was shut down manually, but not until 6 a.m. the following morning. ("The Japan Times" 5/6/10 and 21/6/89; WISE 315 7/7/89).

955. 1989, 5th June - ST. LUCIE, FLORIDA, U.S.A.

A diver was sucked into the nuclear reactor cooling water uptake system at the St. Lucie nuclear power plant in Florida. The diver was dragged a quarter mile through a 16 foot diameter pipe, ending up in one of the reactor cooling ponds. He was fortunate to have lived through it. ("Radiation and Alternatives Bulletin" (RadBull) USA Aug. 1989, WISE-319 20/10/89).

956. 1989, 12th June - OHIO, U.S.A.

The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission imposed its first fine ever against a military organization on 12th June when it fined the US Air Force $102,500 for failing to report a nuclear spill. Drums of Americium-241 stored in a shed at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in the state of Ohio contaminated at least one employee, who opened the drum during an inventory. Clean-up costs exceeded $2 million, and the bases's radiation safety director was placed on a 2-year probation for knowingly storing the illegal substance. ("RadBull" (US) Aug. 1989; WISE-319 20/10/89).

957. 1989, 13th June - ROCKY FLATS, COLORADO, U.S.A.

The Rocky Flats nuclear facility in Colorado, USA was placed on alert due to a rain-swollen dam containing toxic/radioactive substances. ("NACE News" US Oct.1989; WISE-319 20/10/89).

958. 1989, 13th June - DOUNREAY, U.K.

A seepage of liquid was discovered from a construction joint on a stainless steel lined concrete, sludge settling tank containing uranium and plutonium bearing material. According to the industry magazine Atom, the rate of seepage was 100 mile per day, but no mention was made as to how long the leak had been there before being discovered. (Atom (U.K.), Jan 1990; WISE 326/7, 9/2/1990)

959. 1989, 18th June - HONG KONG AIRPORT

On June 18 news reports said Hong Kong airport was put on full alert after a jet flying in from London reported a leak from a container of radioactive material. ("MTS Bulletin" via Greenlink 18/6/89; WISE-315 7/7/89).

960. 1989, 19th June - SPRINGFIELDS WORKS, U.K.

Sometime between December 1988 and May 1989, while working on duties relating to recovery of uranium, an employee took in an amount of uranium exceeding the annual dose and was detected by the whole body monitor on the site. "WISE" 326/7, 9/2/1990)

961. 1989, 26th June - SOVIET SUBMARINE (OFF NORWAY)

A Soviet nuclear-powered submarine Echo II, which caught fire at sea on June 26, returned to its Arctic base with a damaged reactor which failed while it was submerged about 70 miles off the north Norwegian coast. The Soviet navy commander, Admiral Vladimir Chernavin, confirmed that there were nuclear weapons on board the submarine, but they were "safe" and had not been effected by the accident.

According to Soviet Defence Minister Dimitri Yazov, the primary cooling circuit in one of its twin pressurized water reactors failed while the sub was submerged. The Soviet news agency Tass talked earlier of an air-tight seal failing in the primary circuit.

The Echo II was built in the 1960s and is among other Soviet submarine-types, not to mention submarine-types from various other countries, which are crude, as well as dangerous. In fact, it was in April, that the US submarine Iowa exploded killing 47, and it is less than 3 months since another Soviet nuclear submarine, a Soviet Mike Clara, caught fire and sank in the same area (the Barents Sea), taking 42 crew with it. When the Soviet Mike-class sub sank, its two reactors became the 8th and 9th reactors known to be abandoned on the ocean floor. ("Naval Accidents 1945-1988" June 1988; "Guardian" 27/6/89; "North Atlantic Network General Conf" 21/6/89; WISE 315 7/7/89).

UPDATE: 6th September, 1989

Large amounts of radioactive iodine are now known to have been released when the Echo class submarine caught fire off the North Norwegian coast in June. Fallout from the sub fire was even measured as far away as Vardo, in the far north near the Soviet-Norwegian border. Norwegian authorities became aware of the fallout after it was detected by a West German measuring station in Vardo. Researcher Finn Ugletveit at the Norwegian radiation institute has been reported in the press as stating "Our emergency preparedness is worse than people think. We're not properly equipped to tackle crisis situations". ("TT Swedish News Service" 6/9/89; WISE-318 29/9/89 ) .

962. 1989, 9th August - PICKERING, CANADA

A Canadian mechanic was exposed to six times the yearly legal radiation limit in an accident at the Pickering nuclear plant on 9th August 1989. Another worker who was standing nearby was also exposed. The workers were replacing a radioactive control rod, which is moved in or out of a reactor to control the nuclear process, when a radiation detection device one of the men was holding went off scale. It was later discovered that the equipment being used by the men was designed for training and did not contain lead, which shields workers from radiation. ("The Oshawa Times" Canada 14/8/89; WISE-318 29/9/89).

963. 1989, August - MILLSTONE, U.S.A.

The US Sub-committee on nuclear regulations has requested that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission focus its investigations on US $15,000 offered by North East Utilities to John Delcore, a worker who exposed poor safety practices, to silence him. Further focus will be the Texas Utility Electric Company which gave a nuclear builder $15,000 and his attorney $20,000 to keep quiet about problems at the Comenchi Peak Nuclear Plant. The Committee's Chairperson Senator John Breaux said that "it turns the licensing process into a sham, if witnesses can be paid money to withhold their testimony". The NRC did levy US $50, 000 fine on Millstone in April 89 for failing to complete safety modifications required since the TMI accident, three years after the modifications were to have been made. A recently released report by the Washington based Nuclear Information and Resource Service shows that over 1 half (59 out of 112) of operating nuclear powered reactors in the U.S. have not completed these modifications. ("Radiation & Alternatives Bulletin" RadBull Aug.89; WISE-319 20/10/89).

964. 1989, August - FUEL FABRIC, PENNSYLVANIA U.S.A.

A recent US General Accounting Office (GAO) report has found severe radioactive contamination at nine civilian nuclear sites, all of which had been declared decommissioned or decontaminated. Contamination levels were discovered to range between two and 730 times above federal standards. The sites were Westinghouse Fuel Fabrication Plant in Cheswick, Pennsylvania, The Combination Engineering Site in Hematight, Missouri, The Texas Instruments Plant, South of Boston, Mass., The Gulf United Nuclear Corporation Fabrication Plant near Pawling, New York and the KERR McGEE in Cushing, Oklahoma. All five sites have ground water contamination higher than the Federal drinking water standards allow. Additionally, the KER McGEE Cimarron Uranium Enrichment Facility in Crescent, Oklahoma, has ground water contamination 400 times the EPA's drinking water standards and the Nuclear Fuel Services site in Erwin Tennessee has contamination levels 730 times above drinking water standards. ("The Nuclear Monitor" 21/8/89. WISE-319 20/10/89).

965. COMBUSTION ENGIN., MISSOURI, U.S.A.

967. GULF UNITED, N.Y., U.S.A.

968. KERR McKEE, OKLAHOMA, U.S.A.

969. CIMARRON, OKLAHOMA, U.S.A.

970. NUCLEAR FUEL SERVICES, TENN, U.S.A.

971. 1989, September - INDIA

In September, an Indian newspaper, "The Independent", reported that a survey by a team of scientists from the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) found an unusually high concentration of radioactive iodine in marine algae near the Tapaur Atomic Power Station (TAPS). Researchers G.R. Doshi and S.N. Doshi from BARC's health physics division, who conducted the survey, found Iodine-129 in marine algae near Tapaur at 740 times the normal concentration. They published their findings in the Indian Journal for Marine Sciences, creating what "The Independent" described as "a flutter among top nuclear scientists". ("Anumukti" India Oct 1989; WISE-323/324 22/12/89).

972. 1989, 5th September - TURKEY POINT-4, FLORIDA, U.S.A.

A turbine trip at another Florida plant, Turkey Point-4 on 5 September resulted in numerous complications. The reactor began to automatically insert control rods to scram the plant, but stopped before insertion of the rods was complete. ("The Nuclear Monitor" (US) 2/10/89; WISE-319 20/10/89).

973. 1989, 21st September - (CHERNOBYL) PAKISTAN

The Pakistani government released for consumption 496 tonnes of Dutch milk which had been contaminated by the Chernobyl accident, then said it had made a mistake. An analysis of the imported milk samples made by the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission detected CS134 and CS-137 in the milk on the average of 122 Bq/kg, 22% above Indian limits. The milk had been seized by Customs in December 1988 and released in June 1989 following appeals by importers, who promised to dilute it with uncontaminated milk in a 1 to 10 proportion to comply with Euratom standards for reconstituted products. ("Nucleonic Week" US 21/9/89; WISE-319 20/10/89)

974. 1989, August to September - PHOENIX, MARCOULE, FRANCE

A bubble of argon gas in the core of this fast breeder reactor led to a near major explosion without engineers realizing the danger even though the reactor shut off automatically three times during this period for undetected reasons. If the bubble had arisen more in the centre of the core a Chernobyl like power excursion disaster would have been possible. Despite French Authorities denying this it was referred to in the safety report of the German fast breeder SNR-300 at Kalkar. (taz (FRG) 13/1/1990; WISE 326/7 9/2/1990

975. 1989, 27th September - TMI-2, PA., U.S.A.

Two workers helping with the clean-up of Three Mile Island Unit-2 unintentionally picked up a piece of the damaged core. Measurements of the material found it to be highly radioactive with dose rates of 1320 rem/hr (gamma) and 11,580 rad/hr(beta). One of the workers received a dose of between 75 to 375 rem to the hand; the other received a dose of between 18.75 to 75 rem. After realizing the error, other workers picked up the material longhandled tools and placed it in the reactor vessel. ("Nuclear Monitor" US 16/10/89; WISE 320 3/11/89).

976. 1989, 19th October - VANDELLOS 1, TARRATOGA, SPAIN

Fire occurred in this graphite moderated reactor owned by the French Spanish Consortium Hifrensa, a partner of Electricite de France (EdF), when for reasons not yet known one turbine stopped suddenly. The weight of the machine (5 tons) then proceeded to heat up the lubrication oil which decomposed and lost hydrogen. The hydrogen exploded and the turbine caught fire. Because the plant has no fire fighting facilities fire fighters came from as far as 100 km away. The fire continued for four hours. Because the fire fighters had not been given appropriate training or equipment (as they were normal fire fighters and not members of PENTA (Spain's nuclear emergency plant), they piled one calamity on top of another. For instance because they did not understand the situation they used water on electrical systems instead of foam. The basement flooded and Carlos Fernadez, the planter director explained that the big smoke coming from the plant was due to the burning of electric insulators. The plant has a history of overheating and corrosion problems. After Chernobyl the authorities (CSN) had ordered five modifications but only two were made, partially because of the high coats. According to El Pais the International Atomic Energy Agency said this was the worst accident in a nuclear installation since Chernobyl. However reports received by WISE Tarratoga state that IAEA is now denying this. Spain's Commission for nuclear energy CSN has considered the fire to be the worst ever in a Spanish nuclear power plant. The prototype of this plant, the St. Laurent de Eaux in France, was also the site for the worst French nuclear power accident on the 13th March 1989. (WISE 13/11/89, El pais (Spain) 22, 24, 25, 27, and 28 Oct. 89.)

977. 1989, October - NINE MILE-2, NEW YORK, U.S.A.

A problem in the cooling system at Nine Mile Point 2 in New York, USA will keep the nuclear plant from reopening on schedule. The plant had shut down earlier (October 13th) because of a malfunctioning electronic system which occurred when a condenser valve was mistakenly closed during maintenance work being done on the plant's electrical system. ("Solstice Magazine" via GreenNet topic 59, en. nuclear, 29/10/89; WISE-320 3/11/89).

978. 1989, 24th October - ASEA BROWN BOVERI, SWEDEN

At the Asea Brown Boveri (ABB) fuel fabrication plant in Vasteras, Sweden an accident occurred during the routine emptying of a uranium hexafluoride (VF6) sample cylinder. The supposedly airtight glove box in which the cylinder was being manipulated leaked, resulting in a worker breathing in poisonous fluorine gas. A spokesman for ABB said they do not know what caused the accident, but suspect blockage of a ventilation pipe. ("Vestermanlands Lans Tidning" Vasteras, Sweden 27/10/89; WISE-320 3/11/89).

979. 1989, 24th October - HANFORD, WA., U.S.A.

An unconfirmed report of an explosion in a aingle-shell storage tank containing highly radioactive wastes has led the governor of Washington State to order an in-depth investigation of potential chemical explosion involving other similar storage tanks at the Hanford nuclear reservation. ("UPI via GreenNet" topic 158 gp.preac 24/10/89; WISE320 3/11/89).

980. 1989, October - LAGUNA VERDE, MEXICO

922,629 litres of radioactive liquids were dumped into the ocean from 1st April to 24th August 1989. Also radioactive gas emissions have increased the radioactivity around this General Electric reactor. Furthermore, 16 scrams have occurred during the period of testing of this plant from October 1988 to May 1990. ("Excelsior" Mexico City 8/9/89. "Nuclear Monitor" US 16/10/89; WISE-320 3/11/89).

981. 1989, DIABLO CANYON-2, CA., U.S.A.

Unit 2 of the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant was shut down and an "unusual" event was declared. ("Diablo Monitor" via GreenNet; WISE 328 2/90)

982. 1989, October - DARLINGTON, CANADA

In early October, a mix-up resulted in operations workers mistakenly putting Tritium-contaminated heavy water into the heat transport system of the Unit 2 reactor at the Darlington nuclear station in Canada. ("The Anti-Nuclear Review" Canada Summer/Fall 1989; WISE-322 1/12/89)

983. 1989, 27th October - (CHERNOBYL) U.K.

Fish contaminated by the Chernobyl accident are still being found in British rivers, three years after the explosion took place, according to the U.K. Agriculture Ministry. It said that brown trout caught by anglers throughout Britain contain the highest levels of Cesium 134 and 137. Pike and Perch were also affected, but not as badly. ("Japan Times" 27/10/89; WTSE-321 17/11/89).

984. 1989, 7th November - RABBIT LAKE, SASKATCHEWAN, CANADA

A leak of about two million litres (about two thousand cubic metres) of radioactive and heavy metal contaminated water, enough to fill three olympic-size swimming pools, occurred at the Rabbit Lake uranium mine and mill area in northern Saskatchewan, Canada. The water burst from a faulty valve on a 10km long pipeline that carries run off and ground water seepage from the Collin's Bay open pit uranium mine to the Rabbit Lake uranium mill. The water had spilled 300 meters towards Collin's Creek which flows into Collin's Bay on Wollaston Lake. When the radioactivity and heavy metals reach the creek there will be a risk of contamination of a whitefish spawning area. The mill, however significant in itself, is small in relation to the spread of contamination from the routine operation of the mill and mines in the area. The mill releases over seven million litres of waste per day which eventually flows into Wollaston Lake. The water first flows through two settling ponds which together have a maximum holding capacity of only 16 days of mill operation. The water still contains dangerous levels of radioactivity and heavy metals after passing through the settling ponds. (The spill was not noticed for 14 hours - even though there were three Atomic Energy Control Board (AECB) inspectors on the site). ("Survival Office Saskatchewan"; "Saskatoon Star Phoenix", Saskatoon, Saskatchewan 9 and 11/11/89; "Edmonton Journal" Edmonton, Nov 89; WISE 322 1/12/89).

985. 1989, 8th November - MAINE YANKEE, U.S.A.

On 8th November, what was described as "slightly contaminated" air was vented from the Maine Yankee nuclear plant as part of shutdown operations so repairs could be made on a faulty pump seal that had caused several thousand gallons of contaminated water to leak inside the plant. ("UPI" via GreenNet, 9/11/89; WISE-322 1/12/89).

986. 1989, November - CHINON & ST. LAURENT DES EAUX, FRANCE

Two nuclear power stations in France, at Chinon and St. Laurent des Eaux, had to be shut down for several weeks earlier this year because of the hot, dry summer. The Loire River was a couple of degrees too warm to be used for cooling purposes. ("Tribune" Australia 27/9/89; WI Q-319 20/10/89).

987. 1989, 15th November - U.S. SUBMARINE

A fire broke out in insulation around an engine on board the nuclear attack submarine "USS Finback", forcing the vessel to end sea trials early. ("Associated Press" via GreenNet 20/11/89; WISE-322 1/12/89).

988. 1989, November - KNOLS, NY., U.S. NAVY

Water or steam leaks were the cause of two nuclear shutdowns in November at a Navy training centre in Saratoga County, New York. The first of the two shutdown, which took place at the Kenneth A. Kesselring site of Knols Atomic Power Lab, occurred after Navy personnel noticed water-soaked asbestos wrapped around several pipes at the S3-G Triton Submarine reactor. Officials said the leak was non-radioactive but closed the reactor down for further investigation. ("David Yarrow" via GreenNet 26/11/89; WISE322 1/12/89).

989. 1989, 19th November - U.S. NAVY

The second shutdown came on 19 November when a small steam leak in a sealed compartment of S8-G Trident submarine reactor was discovered. ("David Yarrow" via GreenNet 26/11/89; WISE322 1/12/89).

990. 1989, November - RANCHO SECO, CA., U.S.A.

The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) delayed the removal of nuclear fuel scheduled to begin this month at the Rancho Seco nuclear plant in California due to a leak through the plants pool. ("UPI" via GreenNet 20/11/89; WISE-322 1/12/89).

991. 1989, November - ROCKY FLATS, COLORADO, U.S.A.

Investigators from Scientec Inc an Engineering Management Co specializing in nuclear safety issues discovered several kilograms of accumulated Plutonium 239 in a pipe that serves as an exhaust ventilation duct in a Plutonium Processing building. It was found "outside the normal envelope used to control" plutonium inventories and the quantity was "more than enough" for an accidental chain reaction which could produce a lethal dose to workers at close range and could, in some circumstances, release radioactive materials into the environment. Rocky Flats had been warned by a former Rockwell employee who designed the ventilator systems that the ducts were a probable location for dangerous quantities of Plutonium to collect but did nothing to identify and correct Plutonium accumulations in the ventilation systems. Rocky Flats officials have already been under investigation and raided by the F.B.I. for possible criminal violation of environmental laws in the past including improper waste disposal. Furthermore, the firing of Rockwell as Manager for Rocky Flats and agreement with various states and Federal Environmental Agencies on clean up activities is part of initiatives to restore its tarnished image. ("Nuclear Monitor" US 4/9/89; "Guardian" US 11/10/89; Greenpeace via GreenNet gp.press 20 and 23/9/89, 7,11,23/10/89; WISE-321 17/11/89).

992. 1989, 9th November - (CHERNOBYL) MOSCOW, U.S.S.R.

Moscow News today stated that more than 250 people of those who were at work at the time of the explosion or worked on liquidating the consequences of the Chernobyl accident have already died. A spokesman, Alexander Karesyuk for the Kombinut, the Govt Agency that is responsible for the clean-up for the plant, acknowledges the figure of 250 dead but said only 31 could be traced directly to the disaster. The Govt. newspaper Izvestia did agree that "many of those who worked a long time in conditions that were dangerous to their health need help today". A report released by Associated Press in March stated that almost a quarter of a million people were still living on land so contaminated that they cannot eat food grown on it and 3 years after the accident officials are still evacuating more people from the area surrounding the plant. ("AP" via Greennet gp.press 9/11/89; WISE-321 17/11/89).

993. 1989, 24th November - GREIFSWALD, GERMANY

On this date, Central Europe stood at the edge of a nuclear disaster comparable only to Chernobyl in 1986. Reports previously kept hidden by the GDR Authorities state that a near core meltdown occurred as a result of equipment failure. In order to test the emergency switch off system of the new fifth block of the reactor, three of the six cooling water pumps were switched off, at which point the fourth pump broke down and the reactor went out of control. When it was finally switched off manually, the staff discovered that ten fuel elements had been damaged - a local meltdown. The triggers to the missing automatic switch-off were, according to the official investigation commission, sticky contacts of relays which were sloppily constructed. This accident was the last in a series of other dangerous incidents:

In 1974 only a hastily spread jumping-sheet prevented some control rods from falling into the fully loaded centre of the reactor.

In the mid seventies, all main water pumps broke down. Workers had forgotten to reinstall six small iron lids during check up.

In 1981, de-ionized water got into the active zone of the reactor. The splitting process speed increased and temperature rose out of control.

In 1976, the most severe accident occurred. Following a fire within the reactor, the complete cooling system broke down. Only the coincidence that one of the six emergency cooling pumps was connected to the neighbouring reactor prevented a core meltdown. More concerning were the everyday conditions: Drunken staff, a leaking and unstable reactor building, paint covered finger-wide welding seams, missing containments, missing replacement and construction materials, chaos in cable connections, handwork on many contamination-involved works, sinking foundations and radiation levels 10,000 in excess. Chromosome damage was discovered in six workers, as well as high death cancer rates among the staff. Aware of the obsolete equipment and the bad conditions the workers renamed the plant from Power Plant North into Chernobyl North. (TAZ (FRG) 29/1/1990. Dagena Nyheter (Sweden) 28/1/1990; WISE-Stockholm; WISE 326/7, 9/2/1990)

994. 1989, December - NAVY, CUMBRIA, U.K.

On 8 December, 1989 30 gallons of contaminated cooling liquid spilled from a nuclear submarine into the VSEL shipyard in Barrow-in Furneac, Cumbria, U.K.. (Anti-Nuclear Network Newsletter Feb/Mar 90; WISE 328 2/90)

995. 1989, December - U.S.S.R.

On 9th February 'Komsomolakaya Pravda' revealed that a Soviet nuclear submarine armed with intercontinental ballistic missiles suffered a major accident involving the release of radioactivity during a weapons test last December. ("Anti-Nuclear Network Newsletter" (U.K.) Apr/May 90; WISE333 1/6/90).

996. 1981-1989 - SASKATCHEWAN, CANADA

A total of 153 spills have been reported at three uranium mines in Saskatchewan Canada since mid 1981. Amoc mining reported 62 spills, Cameco 48 and Key Lake 43. (Three quarters of these are estimated to be radioactive.

The spill totals were requested after Cameco's Rabbit Lake mine reported a spill of two million litres of radium and arsenic contaminated water. (MediaScan Canada, 10/11/89. WISE 323/324, 22/12/89)

997. 1989, 21st December - EMBALSE, ARGENTINA

This 600 MW plant reportedly suffered three scrams in four days after the 9th of December. The CNEA (Comission National de Energia Atomica) refused to answer reports fuelling speculation in the local press that the reactor had been sabotaged. According to private industry sources the reactor was first shut down automatically because of valve problems. It was restarted but shut down at least twice. (Nucleonics Week, 21/12/89; WISE 326/7, 9/2/1990)

998. 1989, December - SELLAFIELD, U.K.

Radioactive contamination detected at the Fairlie station where spent fuel flasks from Hunterston are transferred to flat bed railway trucks on their way to Sellafield. Caesium 137 levels were 30 times greater than the highest post Chernobyl concentrations and 100 times the levels found in Strathalyde where the station is located. (SCRAM Scotland Dec 1989/Jan 1990. WISE 323/324, 22/12/1989)

1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989