Date: 24 July 1964
Location: Wood River, Rhode Island, USA
Type of event: criticality accident with uranium solution
The accident occurred at a facility which reprocessed for recovery highly enriched uranium in scrap material from fuel element production. A tank containing uranium (93% U-235) in sodium carbonate solution was being agitated by a stirrer. A worker, intending to add a bottle of trichloroethane to remove organics, erroneously added a bottle of uranium solution to the tank, producing a criticality excursion accompanied by a flash of light and the splashing of about 20% of the tank's contents (about 10 liters out of 40-50 liters, including the bottle contents) out of the tank. The worker fled to the site's emergency building. Two plant administrators returned to the building; one turned off the agitator, producing a lesser criticality excursion that was not recognized until their dosimeters were examined. The administrators incurred doses of 100 rads and 60 rads. The worker absorbed about 10,000 rads and died 49 hours after the accident.
Consequences: 1 fatality (10,000 rem), 1 injury.
© 2004, 2005 by Wm. Robert Johnston.
Last modified 14 September 2005.
Return to Home. Return to Nuclear Weapons Resources. Return to Database of radiological incidents and related events.