B This article has been rated as B-Class on the project's quality scale. Iodine-131 and other harmful radioactive particles contaminated farms in the surrounding countryside and cow’s milk was taken from a massive 500km area next to Sellafield. Science with Sam explains. Electricity production was a convenient cover for producing nuclear bomb grade plutonium. A fire and subsequent cover-up that sparked public anger led to a 14-year shutdown of the Monju Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor in Tsuruga, Fukui prefecture, west of Tokyo. A catastrophic meltdown was averted by the heroic actions of a few people but a subsequent 'cover up' by authorities meant they were not properly recognised for their efforts. PS. The Windscale Fire remains the UK’s worst ever nuclear accident - but its chilling memory is mostly consigned to the history books. Puzzling signal on Saturn’s moon Rhea may finally be explained, The scientific guide to a better Christmas dinner, How do mRNA coronavirus vaccines work? Covid-19 news: UK variant may be 30 per cent more deadly, Covid-19 outbreak in Manaus suggests herd immunity may not be possible, A quarter of all known bee species haven't been seen since the 1990s, People buying SUVs are cancelling out climate gains from electric cars. It was diluted a thousand fold and dumped into the Irish Sea leaving it partially contaminated. The terrifying 1957 incident at the Windscale nuclear plant spewed radioactive dust into the surrounding Cumbria countryside and was subsequently hushed up by paranoid authorities, Our free email newsletter sends you the biggest headlines from news, sport and showbiz. At Windscale, the British government subsequently admitted it had deliberately covered up the seriousness of the accidents to keep its nuclear weapons program on track. [3] It all started with a routine annealing process that was carried out to regulate the levels of Wigner energy stored in the graphite moderators. THE WINDSCALE FIRE. Nobody, I mean, nobody, can believe how hot it could possibly be”, one eyewitness would later say. Unlike Cheronbyl, the site was used purely for military purposes and produced enriched uranium to be used for Britain’s nuclear warheads. Don't Miss: Jane Goodall on why we should care about climate change, Videos of over 200 science talks plus weekly crosswords available exclusively to subscribers, Exclusive access to subscriber-only events. When World War I… The Windscale nuclear disaster was a military engineered cover since even before construction began. Governments tried hard to cover up what happened. But radioactive pollution from the incident would have been far higher had it not been for the foresight of one man. including the accident), only 14 of the workers concerned in the accident exceeded the maximum permissible level. Like the later fire, this incident was also covered up by the British government. Existing subscribers, please log in with your email address to link your account access. The on-site Calder Hall nuclear power station did generate power, but the two air-cooled reactors at Windscale commissioned back in 1950 (Piles 1 and 2) had only one purpose – producing plutonium-239 for Britain’s H-bombs. Climate impact on childhood diet may undermine food security efforts, Remote Control review: Fusing Ghanaian stories with a sci-fi thriller. It was only days later that staff became aware of the fire which had begun burning uranium. The ICRP tolerance level, which was formerly 3.9 R per 13 week period, has recently been reduced to 3.0 R, and this is the standard now in force at Windscale Works. 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