Database of radiological incidents and related events--Johnston's Archive

K-8 submarine reactor accident, 1960

compiled by Wm. Robert Johnston
last modified 10 June 2004

Date: 13 October 1960

Location: Barents Sea, aboard USSR submarine K-8

Type of event: submarine reactor leak


A reactor accident occurred aboard the USSR submarine K-8 while it was on exercises in the Barents Sea. The K-8 (hull 261) was a Project 627 (November) class submarine commissioned on 31 August 1960. On 13 October 1960 a loss of coolant accident occurred when a leak developed in the steam generators and an additional pipe. Equipment for dealing with the leak was also damaged. The crew improvised a system to restore coolant to the reactor. During this time radioactive gases leaked into the entire vessel; radiation levels exceeded the maximum sensitivity of available monitors. Three crew members suffered radiation injuries, with doses later estimated at 180-200 rem. The submarine was returned to service; on 12 April 1970 the K-8 sank in the Bay of Biscay off Spain following an onboard fire.

Consequences: 3 injuries.


© 2004 by Wm. Robert Johnston.
Last modified 10 June 2004.
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