What is a nuclear meltdown, and where were the worst nuclear meltdowns? Most people have heard of the meltdowns at the nuclear facilities in Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, and Fukushima. Yet, these three biggies are just the beginning of a long list of other lesser-known nuclear meltdowns that have occurred around the world since the 1950s. For example, did you know that Idaho has had not one, but TWO, nuclear meltdowns? Or, what about the nuclear meltdown that occurred in Czechoslovakia in the 1970s? Indeed, there have been far too many nuclear accidents over the years. This blog post will list some of the lesser-known, yet still very dangerous, nuclear meltdowns.
What is a nuclear meltdown?
Before we get into the list, it is important to understand exactly why the phenomenon is called a nuclear “meltdown.” It’s called a nuclear meltdown because the reactor core overheats causing it to melt.
The 3 biggies
As mentioned earlier, the three most notable nuclear meltdowns in history occurred at nuclear facilities in Chernobyl, Ukraine (1986); Three Mile Island, Pennsylvania (1979); and Fukushima, Japan (2011).
Other nuclear meltdown events
While the following list includes lesser-known moments in nuclear meltdown history, these are still meltdowns none-the-less.
- NRX, Ontario, Canada (1952)
- BORAX-I, Idaho, United States (1954)
- EBR-I, Idaho, United States (1955)
- Windscale, Sellafield, England (1957)
- Sodium Reactor Experiment, Santa Susana Field Laboratory California, United States (1959)
- Fermi 1 Michigan, United States (1966)
- Chapelcross nuclear power station (civilian), Scotland (1967)
- the Lucens reactor, Switzerland (1969)
- Saint-Laurent Nuclear Power Plant (civilian), France (1969)
- A1 plant at Jaslovské Bohunice, Czechoslovakia (1977)
- Saint-Laurent Nuclear Power Plant (civilian), France (1980)
The truth is, nuclear energy is a very, very dangerous tool. When just one thing goes wrong, catastrophe on an epic scale can ensue.
With that said, we must not be scared by nuclear energy. Rather, we should have a healthy dose of respect for it. By so doing, we can harness the clean power that nuclear energy provides.