Sunday, July 3, 2011

John A. Byrnes, Richard C. Legg, and Richard Leroy McKinley...1961 nuclear accident at Idaho Falls, Idaho

An unfortunate accident or a domestic issue?

In 1961, three men were killed in the first fatal nuclear accident in the U.S. when an experimental reactor exploded. The Stationary Low-Power Plant No.1 (SL-1), was part of the National Reactor Testing Station (NRTS), near Idaho Falls, Idaho. An 80-lb control rod was lifted by hand beyond its safe position, causing a core meltdown and explosion of the reactor. Four days were spent to devise a safe method to recover one of the corpses. All three bodies were extremely radioactivity, causing problems for their burial. Clean-up took 18 months. Investigators were never able to determine why this ''abnormal act'' occurred. Two decades later, a documentary speculated one of the men had marital problems and sabotaged the reactor.

Memory Meltdown: America's Forgotten Nuclear Accident

SL-1 [Wikipedia]


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