List of nuclear and radiation accidents by death toll

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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

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 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

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."[9]

As of June 2012, the exact chain of events which included the explosions at the Fukushima Diiachi 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.

Mayak explosion

200+ fatalities – Mayak nuclear waste storage tank explosion, (Chelyabinsk, Soviet Union, 29 September 1957), figure is a conservative estimate, 270,000 people were exposed to dangerous radiation levels. Over thirty small communities had been removed from Soviet maps between 1958 and 1991.[10]

Windscale fire

33+ cancer fatalities (estimated by UK government)[11][12]Windscale, United Kingdom, October 8, 1957. Fire ignites plutonium piles and contaminates surrounding dairy farms.[11][12]. Windscale was an air-cooled graphite-moderated reactor with no containment structure. A significant contributing factor was that the graphite caught fire.

Other accidents

See also


  1. ^ Benjamin K. Sovacool. The costs of failure: A preliminary assessment of major energy accidents, 1907–2007, Energy Policy 36 (2008), p. 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 - 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. ^ 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. 
  10. ^ Samuel Upton Newtan. Nuclear War I and Other Major Nuclear Disasters of the 20th Century 2007, pp. 237–240.
  11. ^ a b Perhaps the Worst, Not the First TIME magazine, May 12, 1986.
  12. ^ 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.
  13. ^ Investigation of an accidental Exposure of radiotherapy patients in Panama - International Atomic Energy Agency
  14. ^ 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. 
  15. ^ Medical management of radiation accidents pp. 299 & 303.
  16. ^ a b Strengthening the Safety of Radiation Sources p. 15.
  17. ^ The Worst Nuclear Disasters
  18. ^ 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. 
  19. ^ Lost Iridium-192 Source
  20. ^ Facts and Details on Nuclear energy in Japan
  21. ^ The Radiological Accident in Goiania p. 2.
  22. ^ a b Pallava Bagla. "Radiation Accident a 'Wake-Up Call' For India's Scientific Community" Science, Vol. 328, 7 May 2010, p. 679.
  23. ^ 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.
  24. ^ 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. 
  25. ^ McInroy, James F. (1995), "A true measure of plutonium exposure: the human tissue analysis program at Los Alamos", Los Alamos Science 23: 235–255, 

External links