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
Union of Concerned Scientists summary