Tokaimura Nuclear Accident (2009)

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A documentary discussing a lesser known nuclear accident in 1999 in Japan, which resulted in one technician suffering 83 days of agony as his body was slowly destroyed by 17 sieverts of radiation.

The accident occurred as three workers, Hisashi Ouchi, Masato Shinohara, and Yutaka Yokokawa, were preparing a small batch of fuel for the Jōyō experimental fast breeder reactor, using uranium enriched to 18.8% with the fissile radionuclide (radioisotope) U‑235 (with the remainder being the fissionable-only U‑238).

It was JCO’s first batch of fuel for that reactor in three years, and no proper qualification and training requirements appear to have been established to prepare those workers for the job.

At around 10 35, a precipitation tank reached critical mass when its fill level, containing about 16 kilograms (35 pounds) of uranium, reached about 40 liters (11 U.S. gallons)

 

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