List of nuclear and radiation accidents by death toll

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This image of the SL-1 core served as a sober reminder of the death and damage that a nuclear meltdown can cause.

There have been more than 20 nuclear and radiation accidents involving fatalities. These involved nuclear power plant accidents, nuclear submarine accidents, radiotherapy accidents and other mishaps.

Chernobyl disaster[edit]

4,000 fatalities[1][2]Chernobyl disaster, Ukraine, April 26, 1986. 56 direct deaths (47 accident workers and nine children with thyroid cancer) and it is estimated that there were 4,000 extra cancer deaths among the approximately 600,000 most highly exposed people.[3]

Estimates of the total number of deaths potentially resulting from the Chernobyl disaster vary enormously: Thirty one deaths are directly attributed to the accident, all among the reactor staff and emergency workers.[4] A UNSCEAR report places the total confirmed deaths from radiation at 64 as of 2008. The World Health Organization (WHO) suggests it could reach 4,000 civilian deaths, a figure which does not include military clean-up worker casualties.[5] A 2006 report predicted 30,000 to 60,000 cancer deaths as a result of Chernobyl fallout.[6] A Greenpeace report puts this figure at 200,000 or more.[7] A disputed Russian publication, Chernobyl, concludes that 985,000 premature cancer deaths occurred worldwide between 1986 and 2004 as a result of radioactive contamination from Chernobyl.[8]

Fukushima disaster[edit]

The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster has no confirmed casualties from radiation exposure.

The United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR), released a report on the Fukushima accident April 2nd, 2014. It stated that the scientists have found no evidence to support the idea that the nuclear meltdown in Japan in 2011 will lead to an increase in cancer rates or birth defects.[9]

None of the workers at the plant have died from acute radiation poisoning.[10]

Kyshtym disaster[edit]

The Kyshtym disaster, which occurred at Mayak in the Soviet Union, was rated as a level 6 on the International Nuclear Event Scale, the third most severe incident after Chernobyl and Fukushima. Because of the intense secrecy surrounding Mayak, it is difficult to estimate the death toll of Kyshtym. One book claims that "in 1992, a study conducted by the Institute of Biophysics at the former Soviet Health Ministry in Chelyabinsk found that 8,015 people had died within the preceding 32 years as a result of the accident."[11] By contrast, only 6,000 death certificates have been found for residents of the Tech riverside between 1950 and 1982 from all causes of death,[12] though perhaps the Soviet study considered a larger geographic area affected by the airborne plume. The most commonly quoted estimate is 200 deaths due to cancer, but the origin of this number is not clear. More recent epidemiological studies suggest that around 49 to 55 cancer deaths among riverside residents can be associated to radiation exposure.[12] This would include the effects of all radioactive releases into the river, 98% of which happened long before the 1957 accident, but it would not include the effects of the airborne plume that was carried north-east.[13] The area closest to the accident produced 66 diagnosed cases of chronic radiation syndrome, providing the bulk of the data about this condition.[14]

Windscale fire[edit]

33+ cancer fatalities (estimated by UK government)[15][16]Windscale, United Kingdom, October 8, 1957. The Windscale fire resulted when uranium metal fuel ignited inside plutonium production piles; surrounding dairy farms were contaminated.[15][16]

Other accidents[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sovacool, Benjamin K. (2008). "The costs of failure: A preliminary assessment of major energy accidents, 1907–2007". Energy Policy 36: 1806. 
  2. ^ Benjamin K. Sovacool. A Critical Evaluation of Nuclear Power and Renewable Electricity in Asia, Journal of Contemporary Asia, Vol. 40, No. 3, August 2010, p. 396.
  3. ^ "IAEA Report". In Focus: Chernobyl. Retrieved 2008-05-31. 
  4. ^ Hallenbeck, William H (1994). Radiation Protection. CRC Press. p. 15. ISBN 0-87371-996-4. "Reported thus far are 237 cases of acute radiation sickness and 31 deaths." 
  5. ^ "Chernobyl: the true scale of the accident". Chernobyl’s Legacy: Health, Environmental and Socio-Economic Impacts. Retrieved 2011-04-15. 
  6. ^ "Torch: The Other Report On Chernobyl- executive summary". European Greens and UK scientists Ian Fairlie PhD and David Sumner - Chernobylreport.org. April 2006. Retrieved 2011-08-20. 
  7. ^ "The Chernobyl Catastrophe - Consequences on Human Health". Greenpeace. 18 April 2006. Retrieved 15 December 2008. 
  8. ^ Alexey V. Yablokov; Vassily B. Nesterenko; Alexey V. Nesterenko (2009). Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment (Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences) (paperback ed.). Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN 978-1-57331-757-3. 
  9. ^ jaya.mohan. "Fukushima". Retrieved 15 November 2014. 
  10. ^ http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2012/05/25/news/radiation-didnt-cause-fukushima-no-1-deaths-u-n/#.U2--DyiJvM0
  11. ^ Schlager, Neil (1994). When Technology Fails. Detroit: Gale Research. ISBN 0-8103-8908-8. 
  12. ^ a b Standring, William J.F.; Dowdall, Mark and Strand, Per (2009). "Overview of Dose Assessment Developments and the Health of Riverside Residents Close to the "Mayak" PA Facilities, Russia". International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 6 (1): 174–199. doi:10.3390/ijerph6010174. ISSN 1660-4601. PMC 2672329. PMID 19440276. Retrieved 11 June 2012. 
  13. ^ "The Southern Urals radiation studies: A reappraisal of the current status". Journal of Radiation and Environmental Biophysics 41. 2002. 
  14. ^ Gusev, Igor A.; Gusʹkova, Angelina Konstantinovna; Mettler, Fred Albert (28 March 2001). Medical Management of Radiation Accidents. CRC Press. pp. 15–29. ISBN 978-0-8493-7004-5. Retrieved 11 June 2012. 
  15. ^ a b Perhaps the Worst, Not the First TIME magazine, May 12, 1986.
  16. ^ a b Benjamin K. Sovacool. A Critical Evaluation of Nuclear Power and Renewable Electricity in Asia, Journal of Contemporary Asia, Vol. 40, No. 3, August 2010, p. 393.
  17. ^ Investigation of an accidental Exposure of radiotherapy patients in Panama - International Atomic Energy Agency
  18. ^ a b c d e Johnston, Robert (September 23, 2007). "Deadliest radiation accidents and other events causing radiation casualties". Database of Radiological Incidents and Related Events. 
  19. ^ Medical management of radiation accidents pp. 299 & 303.
  20. ^ a b Strengthening the Safety of Radiation Sources p. 15.
  21. ^ "The Worst Nuclear Disasters". TIME.com. Retrieved 15 November 2014. 
  22. ^ a b Ricks, Robert C. et al. (2000). "REAC/TS Radiation Accident Registry: Update of Accidents in the United States". International Radiation Protection Association. p. 6. 
  23. ^ "Lost Iridium-192 Source". Retrieved 15 November 2014. 
  24. ^ Facts and Details on Nuclear energy in Japan
  25. ^ The Radiological Accident in Goiania p. 2.
  26. ^ a b Pallava Bagla. "Radiation Accident a 'Wake-Up Call' For India's Scientific Community" Science, Vol. 328, 7 May 2010, p. 679.
  27. ^ Benjamin K. Sovacool. A Critical Evaluation of Nuclear Power and Renewable Electricity in Asia, Journal of Contemporary Asia, Vol. 40, No. 3, August 2010, p. 399.
  28. ^ a b c d e István Turai and Katalin Veress (2001, Vol.7. No.1.:3-14). "Radiation Accidents: Occurrence, Types, Consequences, Medical Management, and the Lessons to be Learned". CEJOEM.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  29. ^ McInroy, James F. (1995), A true measure of plutonium exposure: the human tissue analysis program at Los Alamos, Los Alamos Science 23: 235–255 

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