The Shortform
Published in

The Shortform

1 Minute Weird: The Nuclear Accident You’ve Never Heard Of

US Atomic Energy Commission image of SL-1 reactor core being removed from National Reactor Testing Station facility in Idaho — Wikimedia Commons

On January 3, 1961 United States servicemembers working for the smallest known nuclear reactor entered the room that contained the control rods for the reactor. Moments later, the reactor would meltdown and kill all 3 men. The reactor was a part of an Army initiative to see if small nuclear reactors could power clandestine missions and remote locations of operation.

The reactor was designed so that a single control rod initiated the reaction and thus produced the energy needed for operations. Starting it required manual manipulation of that control rod. The operator raised the control rod too far, blasting two of them across the room and pinning himself to the roof with a control rod impalement. The fire department had to recover their bodies in shifts and they are buried in the desert in metal caskets. Their bodies remain radioactive.

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Marissa Newby

Marissa Newby

558 Followers

Blogger, horror writer, poet, feminist, existential crisis