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

Nesvizh irradiator accident, 1991

compiled by Wm. Robert Johnston
last modified 26 October 2008

Date: 26 October 1991

Location: Nesvizh, Belarus

Type of event: accident at industrial irradiator


An accident occurred during repairs at an irradiation facility that used a 30 PBq cobalt-60 source for sterilization of medical equipment. Although the specific actions are not fully known, an operator (34-year old male) failed to follow operating procedures and circumvented safety features in entering the irradiation room to deal with a jam of the product transport system. The source was exposed at the time, and the operator walked to within 0.5 m of the source before realizing his error and exiting, spending between 1 and 2 minutes in the irradiation room. He received a whole body dose of 1,250 rem and localized doses of up to 1,800 rem. Within 3 minutes of exiting he experienced nausea and diarrhea after an additional 13 minutes. The operator received extensive medical treatment but died 113 days later.

Consequences: 1 fatality (1,250 rem).


© 2004-2006, 2008 by Wm. Robert Johnston.
Last modified 26 October 2008.
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