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Idaho Falls experimental nuclear reactor disaster

On January 3, 1961, three men were killed at the SL-1 nuclear reactor at the US National Reactor Testing Station (NRTS), in Idaho Falls, Idaho. This was the first nuclear power accident in the United States. Because it was an experimental reactor, the story is omitted from discussions of fatalities at "commercial" nuclear power stations.

As the three workers moved fuel rods in a "routine" preparation for reactor start-up. The reactor went out of control, perhaps from too-rapid lifting of a control rod. All three were killed; one of them was impaled by part of a control rod on the ceiling of the reactor building.

The accident is described in John Fuller's book We Almost Lost Detroit.

Also, various videos are posted on YouTube, including:

Meltdown: The SL-1 Accident, produced by the US Atomic Energy Commission (now the Nuclear Regulatory Commission)

Union of Concerned Scientists summary


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