Nuclear Power Plant Accidents

Here is the timeline of famous nuclear accidents:

Dec. 12, Chalk River, nr. Ottawa, Canada: a partial meltdown of the reactor's uranium fuel core resulted after the accidental removal of four control rods. Although millions of gallons of radioactive water accumulated inside the reactor, there were no injuries.

Oct. 7, Windscale Pile No. 1, north of Liverpool, England: fire in a graphite-cooled reactor spewed radiation over the countryside, contaminating a 200-sq-mi area.

South Ural Mountains: explosion of radioactive wastes at Soviet nuclear weapons factory 12 miles from city of Kyshtym forced the evacuation of over 10,000 people from a contaminated area. No casualties were reported by Soviet officials.

nr. Greifswald, East Germany: radioactive core of reactor in the Lubmin nuclear power plant nearly melted down due to the failure of safety systems during a fire.

March 28, Three Mile Island, nr. Harrisburg, Pa.: one of two reactors lost its coolant, which caused the radioactive fuel to overheat and caused a partial meltdown. Some radioactive material was released.

April 26, Chernobyl, nr. Kiev, former U.S.S.R.: explosion and fire in the graphite core of one of four reactors released radioactive material that spread over part of the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, Scandinavia, and later Western Europe. 31 claimed dead. Total casualties are unknown and estimates run into the thousands. Worst such accident to date.

September 30, Tokyo, Japan: workers added seven times the required amount. Radiation was released to the surrounding areas. The three workers performing the operation were exposed to high levels of radiation and were treated. Thirty-nine workers were exposed in total.

Nuclear Power Plants cause between 600-1000 deaths a year per million people. The vast majority of them, 80%, are to the plant workers.

The distance from a nuclear power plant also has a direct affect on things such as breast cancer. In a extensive study it was found that, women living near a nuclear reactor had an average of 26-28 deaths from breast cancer per 100,000 women. Women living far from one averaged 22-23 deaths per 100,000.

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