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

Taiyuan irradiator accident, 2008

compiled by Wm. Robert Johnston
last modified 29 November 2022

Date: 11 April 2008

Location: Taiyuan, Shanxi, P.R. China

Type of event: irradiator accident


At a facility for irradiating traditional Chinese medicine, five male workers entered the irradiation room and were exposed to the 18 kCi cobalt-60 source. The workers were exposed from 5-15 minutes each, about 0.8-1.5 meters from the source. They developed nausea and vomiting about 30 minutes later, exhibiting facial blushing, blepharal hyperemia, and drunken appearance. All five were transferred to a Beijing hospital 14 hours after exposure. Two victims (doses 1450 and 340 rad) developed acute gastrointestinal radiation sickness with severe bone marrow damage; the other three (doses 250, 220, and 210 rads) developed moderate bone marrow radiation sickness. The 32-year-old worker who received the largest dose died 62 days after exposure of acute radiation sickness with multiple organ failure, despite having received stem cell treatments. A second worker (who received a 220 rad exposure) died 1.5 years after exposure of tuberculosis.

Consequences: 1 death, 4 injuries.


© 2013, 2022 by Wm. Robert Johnston.
Last modified 29 November 2022.
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