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

Soreq irradiator accident, 1990

compiled by Wm. Robert Johnston
last modified 22 July 2012

Date: 21 June 1990

Location: Sor-Van Radiation Limited, Soreq, Israel

Type of event: irradiator accident


The accident occurred at a commerical irradiator, in which packages are automatically moved through an area exposed to a cobalt-60 source. Several maintenance problems contributed to the accident, which began when packages became jammed in the irradiation area. An operator choose to reject the radiation warning indicator in favor of an indicator erroneously showing the cobalt source to be in safe (shielded) mode. He overrode safety features to enter the irradiation room; after a short time he felt burning in his eyes and a headache. He then left the room and contacted his supervisor, and shortly after began vomiting; he arrived at a hospital 8 hours after exposure. The worker received a whole body dose between 1000 and 2000 rads and died 36 days later of multiple organ failure, despite efforts including a bone marrow transplant.

Consequences: 1 fatality.


© 2004-2007, 2012 by Wm. Robert Johnston.
Last modified 22 July 2012.
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