List of nuclear and radiation accidents by death toll
4,000 fatalities – 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.
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. 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. A 2006 report predicted 30,000 to 60,000 cancer deaths as a result of Chernobyl fallout. A Greenpeace report puts this figure at 200,000 or more. 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.
As of June 2012, the exact chain of events which included the explosions at the Fukushima Daiichi plant are still not known. The total amount of radiation released is also not known for certain and the impacts on human health and the environment, and hence the likely number of deaths, cannot be determined with the information available.
Frank N. von Hippel, a U.S. scientist, has suggested, as "a very preliminary order-of-magnitude guesstimate," that "one might expect around 1,000 extra cancer deaths related to the Fukushima Daiichi accident."
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." 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, 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. 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. The area closest to the accident produced 66 diagnosed cases of chronic radiation syndrome, providing the bulk of the data about this condition.
33+ cancer fatalities (estimated by UK government) – Windscale, United Kingdom, October 8, 1957. Fire ignites plutonium piles and contaminates surrounding dairy farms. Windscale was an air-cooled graphite-moderated reactor with no containment structure. A significant contributing factor was that the graphite caught fire.
- 17 fatalities – Instituto Oncologico Nacional of Panama, August 2000 – March 2001. Patients receiving treatment for prostate cancer and cancer of the cervix receive lethal doses of radiation.
- 13 fatalities – Radiotherapy accident in Costa Rica, 1996. 114 patients received an overdose of radiation from a Cobalt-60 source that was being used for radiotherapy.
- 11 fatalities – Radiotherapy accident in Zaragoza, Spain, December 1990. Cancer patients receiving radiotherapy; 27 patients were injured.
- 10 fatalities – Soviet submarine K-431 reactor accident, August 10, 1985. 49 people suffered radiation injuries.
- 10 fatalities – Columbus radiotherapy accident, 1974–1976, 88 injuries from Cobalt-60 source.
- 9 fatalities – Soviet submarine K-27 reactor accident, 24 May 1968. 83 people were injured.
- 8 fatalities – Soviet submarine K-19 reactor accident, July 4, 1961. More than 30 people were over-exposed to radiation.
- 8 fatalities – Radiation accident in Morocco, March 1984.
- 7 fatalities – Houston radiotherapy accident, 1980.
- 5 fatalities – Lost radiation source, Baku, Azerbaijan, USSR, October 5, 1982. 13 injuries.
- 4 fatalities – Mihama Nuclear Power Plant accident, August 9, 2004. Hot water and steam leaked from a broken pipe (not actually a radiation accident).
- 4 fatalities – Goiânia accident, September 13, 1987. 249 people received serious radiation contamination from lost radiotherapy source.
- 4 fatalities – Radiation accident in Mexico City, 1962.
- 3 fatalities – SL-1 accident (US Army) 1961.
- 3 fatalities – Samut Prakan radiation accident: Three deaths and ten injuries resulted when a radiation-therapy unit was dismantled, February 2000.
- 2 fatalities – Tokaimura nuclear accident, nuclear fuel reprocessing plant. Japan, September 30, 1999.
- 2 fatalities - Meet Halfa, Egypt, May 2000; two fatalities due to radiography accident.
- 1 fatality – Mayapuri radiological accident, India, April 2010.
- 1 fatality – Daigo Fukuryū Maru March 1, 1954
- 1 fatality – Louis Slotin May 21, 1946
- 1 fatality – Harry K. Daghlian, Jr., August 21, 1945 at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.
- 1 fatality – Cecil Kelley criticality accident, December 30, 1958 at the Los Alamos National Laboratory.
- 1 fatality - Operator error at Wood River Junction nuclear facility, 1964, Rhode Island, Robert Peabody dies 49 hours later
- 1 fatality – Malfunction INES level 4 at RA2 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1983, operator Osvaldo Rogulich dies days later.
- 1 fatality - San Salvador, El Salvador, 1989; one fatality due to violation of safety rules at 60Co irradiation facility.
- 1 fatality - Soreq, Israel, 1990; one fatality due to violation of safety rules at 60Co irradiation facility.
- 1 fatality - Tammiku, Estonia, 1994; one fatality from disposed 137Cs source.
- 1 fatality - Sarov, Russia, June 1997; one fatality due to violation of safety rules.
- Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
- Lists of nuclear disasters and radioactive incidents
- Nevada Test Site
- Semipalatinsk Test Site
- Benjamin K. Sovacool. The costs of failure: A preliminary assessment of major energy accidents, 1907–2007, Energy Policy 36 (2008), p. 1806.
- 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.
- "IAEA Report". In Focus: Chernobyl. Retrieved 2008-05-31.
- 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."
- "Chernobyl: the true scale of the accident". Chernobyl’s Legacy: Health, Environmental and Socio-Economic Impacts. Retrieved 2011-04-15.
- "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.
- "The Chernobyl Catastrophe - Consequences on Human Health". Greenpeace. 18 April 2006. Retrieved 15 December 2008.
- 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.
- Frank N. von Hippel (September/October 2011 vol. 67 no. 5). "The radiological and psychological consequences of the Fukushima Daiichi accident". Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. pp. 27–36.
- Schlager, Neil (1994). When Technology Fails. Detroit: Gale Research. ISBN 0-8103-8908-8.
- 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. Retrieved 11 June 2012.
- "The Southern Urals radiation studies: A reappraisal of the current status". Journal of Radiation and Environmental Biophysics 41. 2002.
- 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.
- Perhaps the Worst, Not the First TIME magazine, May 12, 1986.
- 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.
- Investigation of an accidental Exposure of radiotherapy patients in Panama - International Atomic Energy Agency
- Johnston, Robert (September 23, 2007). "Deadliest radiation accidents and other events causing radiation casualties". Database of Radiological Incidents and Related Events.
- Medical management of radiation accidents pp. 299 & 303.
- Strengthening the Safety of Radiation Sources p. 15.
- The Worst Nuclear Disasters
- Ricks, Robert C. et al. (2000). "REAC/TS Radiation Accident Registry: Update of Accidents in the United States". International Radiation Protection Association. p. 6.
- Lost Iridium-192 Source
- Facts and Details on Nuclear energy in Japan
- The Radiological Accident in Goiania p. 2.
- Pallava Bagla. "Radiation Accident a 'Wake-Up Call' For India's Scientific Community" Science, Vol. 328, 7 May 2010, p. 679.
- 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.
- 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.
- McInroy, James F. (1995), "A true measure of plutonium exposure: the human tissue analysis program at Los Alamos", Los Alamos Science 23: 235–255
- The Worst Nuclear Disasters TIME magazine