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Radiation Dose Estimation in the 1958 Los Alamos Criticality Accident

Harris P. S.
Health Physics: March 1961
Papers: PDF Only

An accidental radiation excursion occurring during a Pu239 recovery operation resulted in significant exposure of three personnel, one exposure terminating in fatality. Radiation of the fatally exposed person was nonuniform, and it was possible only to estimate his average body dose and dose incident to specific body areas. His average fast neutron dose was estimated as about 900 rads, and γ-ray dose as 3000–4000 rads. The fast neutron doses incident to the head and upper abdomen were estimated as 2600 and 3000 rads, respectively, and the respective incident γ-ray doses as about 7800 and 9000 rads. A second operator received a neutron dose estimated at 2.6 rads, and his film badge showed a γ-dose of 118 rads. The third person's neutron and γ-doses were estimated as 1.4 and 31.5 rads, respectively. Most of the γ-ray dose to the nonfatality exposed operators was accumulated during subsequent trips near the source.

©1961Health Physics Society