's biggest & most powerful nuclear disasters of all time! Nothing
compares to these nuclear accidents that devastated places like Fukushima, Chernobyl
, & Windscale
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Located in northeastern Russia
is an industrial complex that experienced an accident in 1957
known as the Kyshtym Disaster
. During this disaster, an explosion caused 100
tons of radioactive waste to be released into the environment, exposing more than 400,000 people to radiation. The International Nuclear Event Scale
measured it as a 6, meaning it was the third worst nuclear disaster of all time. The only two that were worse were Fukushima & Chernobyl.
As it was operated by the Soviet Union
, the activities at Myak were top secret & the public was not immediately informed about its happenings. A week after the explosion, 10,000 people from the surrounding area were evacuated, though they still did not know what was going on. While it is not entirely clear how many health issues can be attributed to this incident, some believe that as many as around 8,000 people died over a 30-year span. Others
estimates count anywhere between 50 to 200
fatalities. But even before the accident actually took place, dangerous material was released into a nearby river that also subjected the area to high radioactive exposure.
Other accidents at the complex have put humans & the environment at risk as well. From 1953
, dozens of minor accidents as well as two major ones occurred at Myak. At one point
, a dried up polluted lake called Lake Karachay
began releasing radioactive particles into surrounding bodies of water during a heavy rainstorm in 1967
winds spread dust & radioactive material from the lake over to the town of Ozyorsk.
: The Santa Susana Field
Located in the Simi Valley
of Southern California
, the Santa Susana Field Laboratory
was used from 1949 until 2006
. The complex had many uses over the years. It was used to research government-sponsored liquid metals, to develop liquid propellant rocket engines for NASA
, & to house nuclear reactors. Over the years, four of the ten nuclear reactors experienced accidents.
In July, 1959
, one of the worst nuclear reactor accidents in U.S. history
occurred at the site. After the site saw a nuclear meltdown, it released what is believed to be an enormous amount of radioactivity. The exact amount was never specified. Some estimates say that it was as much as 458 times the amount released during the Three Mile Island disaster
. Earlier that year, the same AE6 Nuclear Reactor
was leaking fission gas, which was likely to be the cause of the meltdown that occurred months later.
In 2006, scientists & researchers concluded that contamination from the accidents as well as sodium burn pits—which were used to clean sodium contaminated objects—might have been responsible for as many as 300
to 1,8000 cancer deaths.
: Three Mile Island
Mentioned earlier, this accident garnered much national attention & occurred in 1979 at the Three Mile Island Nuclear
in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania
. On March 28th
, 1979, a mechanical failure at the site resulted in nuclear reactor coolant being leaked from one of the reactors. When all was said & done, a large amount of radioactive gases & iodine was released into the environment. The exact amount has not been explicitly made known.
The extent of the damage was so bad that initially, all pregnant women & young children within a five-mile radius of Three Mile Island were evacuated. It eventually extended to a 20-mile & ultimately a 30-mile radius. About 140
,000 of the 635,000 people in the area chose to evacuate, & many of these folks returned within weeks of the accident.
An investigation found that the accident occurred
due to human miscalculations & a valve malfunction. The cleanup effort lasted four years, from 1979 till 1993
. Aside from the health & environmental toll the accident took, it also badly damaged the development of nuclear energy. Plans
to build 51 nuclear reactors were canceled & it wasn’t until 2012
that another nuclear power plant was authorized for construction.
- published: 30 Mar 2016
- views: 1624368