The village of Tōkai’s location (approximately seventy miles from Tokyo) and available land space made it ideal for nuclear power production, so a series of experimental nuclear reactors and then the Tōkai Nuclear Power Plant – the country’s first commercial nuclear power station – were built here. Over time, dozens of companies and government institutes were established nearby to provide nuclear research, experimentation, manufacturing, and fuel fabrication, enrichment and disposal facilities. Nearly one-third of Tokai’s population rely upon nuclear industry-related employment.Japan relies heavily on imports for 80% of all energy requirements, due to this shortage, mounting pressures to produce self-sustaining energy sources remain. In 2014, the Japanese government decided to establish the “Strategic Energy Plan” naming nuclear power as an important power source that can safely stabilize and produce the energy supply and demand of the country. This event contributed to antinuclear activist movements against production of nuclear energy in Japan. To this day, the tensions between the need for produced power outside of nonexistent natural resources and the safety of the country’s population remain. Advocacy for acute nuclear disease victims and eradication of nuclear related incidents has led to several movements across the globe promoting human welfare and environmental conservation.
Comments within the 2012 Report by the National Diet of Japan Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission notice regulatory and nuclear industry overconfidence, and governance failures may equally apply to the Tokaimura nuclear accident.
Hisashi Ouchi, 35, was transported and treated at the University of Tokyo Hospital for 83 days. Ouchi suffered serious radiation burns to most of his body, experienced severe damage to his internal organs, and had a near-zero white blood cell count. Without a functioning immune system, Ouchi was vulnerable to hospital-borne pathogens and was placed in a special radiation ward to limit the risk of contracting an infection. Doctors attempted to restore some functionality to Ouchi’s immune system by administering peripheral blood stem cell transplantation, which at the time was a new form of treatment. After receiving the transplant from his sister, Ouchi initially experienced increased white blood cell counts temporarily but succumbed to his other injuries shortly thereafter. The leukocytes being produced by the transplanted tissue were found to have been mutated by the residual radiation present in his body, triggering autoimmune responses that exacerbated his rapidly deteriorating condition, and white blood cell counts began to decrease. Numerous other interventions were conducted in an attempt to arrest further decline of Ouchi’s severely damaged body, including repeated use of cultured skin grafts and pharmacological interventions with painkillers, broad-spectrum antibiotics and granulocyte colony-stimulating factor, without any measurable success.By mid-afternoon the plant workers and surrounding residents were asked to evacuate. Five hours after the start of the criticality, evacuation commenced of some 161 people from 39 households within a 350-meter radius from the conversion building. Twelve hours after the incident, 300,000 surrounding residents of the nuclear facility were told to stay indoors and cease all agricultural production. This restriction was lifted the following afternoon. Almost 15 days later, the facility instituted protection methods with sandbags and other shielding to protect from residual gamma radiation.JCO facility technicians Hisashi Ouchi, Masato Shinohara, and Yutaka Yokokawa were speeding up the last few steps of the fuel/conversion process to meet shipping requirements. It was JCO’s first batch of fuel for the Jōyō experimental fast breeder reactor in three years; no proper qualification and training requirements were established to prepare for the process. To save processing time, and for convenience, the team mixed the chemicals in stainless-steel buckets. The workers followed JCO operating manual guidance in this process but were unaware it was not approved by the STA. Under correct operating procedure, uranyl nitrate would be stored inside a buffer tank and gradually pumped into the precipitation tank in 2.4 kg (5.3 lb) increments. This particular plant was made in 1988 and processed 3 tonnes of uranium per year. The uranium that was processed was enriched up to 20% U-235, which is a higher enrichment level than normal. They did this using a wet process. Nuclear power was an important energy alternative for natural-resource-poor Japan to limit dependence on imported energy, providing approximately 30% of Japan’s electricity up until the Fukushima nuclear disaster of 2011, after which nuclear electricity production fell into sharp decline.Efforts to comply with emergency preparedness procedures and international guideline requirements continued. New systems were put in place for handling a similar incident with governing legislature and institutions in an effort to prevent further situations from occurring.
In addition to these three workers who immediately felt symptoms, 56 people at the JCO plant were reported to have been exposed to the gamma, neutron, and other irradiation. In addition to the workers at the site, construction workers who were working on a job site nearby, were also reported to have been exposed. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, the cause of the accidents were “human error and serious breaches of safety principles”. Several human errors caused the incident, including careless material handling procedures, inexperienced technicians, inadequate supervision and obsolete safety procedures on the operating floor. The company had not had any incidents for over 15 years making company employees complacent in their daily responsibilities. The nuclear fuel conversion standards specified in the 1996 JCO Operating Manual dictated the proper procedures regarding dissolution of uranium oxide powder in a designated dissolution tank. The buffer tank’s tall, narrow geometry was designed to hold the solution safely and to prevent criticality. In contrast, the precipitation tank had not been designed to hold unlimited quantities of this type of solution. The designed wide cylindrical shape made it favorable to criticality. The workers bypassed the buffer tanks entirely, opting to pour the uranyl nitrate directly into the precipitation tank. An uncontrolled nuclear fission began immediately. The resulting nuclear fission chain became self-sustaining, emitting intense gamma and neutron radiation. At the time of the event, Ouchi had his body draped over the tank while Shinohara stood on a platform to assist in pouring the solution. Yokokawa was sitting at a desk four meters away. All three technicians observed a blue flash (possibly Cherenkov radiation) and gamma radiation alarms sounded. Over the next several hours the fission reaction produced continuous chain reactions.Pressure placed upon JCO to increase efficiency led the company to employ an illegal procedure wherein they skipped several key steps in the enrichment procedure. The technicians poured the product by hand in stainless-steel buckets directly into a precipitation tank. This process inadvertently contributed to a critical mass level incident triggering uncontrolled nuclear chain reactions over the next several hours. Without an emergency plan or public communication from the JCO, confusion and panic followed the event. Authorities warned locals not to harvest crops or drink well water. In order to ease public concerns, officials began radiation testing of residents living approximately 6 miles from the facility. Over the next 10 days, approximately 10,000 medical check-ups were conducted. Dozens of emergency workers and residents who lived nearby were hospitalized and hundreds of thousands of others were forced to remain indoors for 24 hours. Testing confirmed 39 of the workers were exposed to the radiation. At least 667 workers, first-responders, and nearby residents were exposed to excess radiation as a result of the accident. Radioactive gas levels stayed high in the area even after the plant was sealed. Finally on October 12th it was discovered that a roof ventilation fan had been left on and it was shut-down. Sometime after the incident, people in the area were asked to lend any gold they had to allow calculations of the size and range of the gamma ray burst. The second, more serious Tokai nuclear accident (Japanese: 東海村JCO臨界事故 Tōkai-mura JCO-rinkai-jiko) occurred approximately four miles away from the PNC facility on 30 September 1999, at a fuel enrichment plant operated by JCO, a subsidiary of Sumitomo Metal Mining Company. It was the worst civilian nuclear radiation accident in Japan prior to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster of 2011. The incident exposed the surrounding population to hazardous nuclear radiation after the uranium mixture reached criticality. Two of the three technicians mixing fuel lost their lives. The incident was caused by lack of regulatory supervision, inadequate safety culture and improper technician training and education.Over 600 plant workers, firefighters, emergency personnel and local residents were exposed to radioactivity following the incident. In October 1999, JCO set up advisory booths to process compensation claims and inquiries of those affected. By July 2000, over 7,000 compensation claims were filed and settled. In September 2000 JCO agreed to pay $121 million in compensation to settle 6,875 claims from people exposed to radiation and affected agricultural and service businesses. All residents within 350 meters of the incident and those forced to evacuate received compensation if they agreed to not sue the company in the future.
In late March 2000, the STA cancelled JCO’s credentials for operation serving as the first Japanese plant operator to be punished by law for mishandling nuclear radiation. This suit was followed by the company president’s resignation. In October, six officials from JCO were charged with professional negligence derived from failure to properly train technicians and knowingly subverting safety procedures.In April 2001 six employees, including the chief of production department at the time, pleaded guilty to a charge of negligence resulting in death. Among those arrested was Yokokawa for his failure to supervise proper procedures. The JCO President also pleaded guilty on behalf of the company. During the trial, the jury learned that a 1995 JCO safety committee had approved the use of steel buckets in the procedure. Furthermore, a widely distributed but unauthorized 1996 manual recommended the use of buckets in making the solution. A STA report indicated JCO management had permitted these hazardous practices beginning in 1993 to shortcut the conversion process, even though it was contrary to approved nuclear chemical handling procedures.There have been two noteworthy nuclear accidents at the Tōkai nuclear campus, Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan. The first accident occurred on 11 March 1997, producing an explosion after an experimental batch of solidified nuclear waste caught fire at the Power Reactor and Nuclear Fuel Development Corporation (PNC) radioactive waste bituminisation facility. Over twenty people were exposed to radiation. The second was a criticality accident at a separate fuel reprocessing facility belonging to Japan Nuclear Fuel Conversion Co. (JCO) on 30 September 1999 due to improper handling of liquid uranium fuel. The incident spanned approximately 20 hours and resulted in radiation exposure for 667 people and the death of two workers. These accidents were due to inadequate regulatory oversight, lack of appropriate safety culture and inadequate worker training and qualification. After these two accidents a series of lawsuits were filed and new safety measures were put into effect. The victims ranged from workers who were working on the tank that had the accident to construction workers working on a site near by. These accidents had great impacts on the technicians and resulted in most of them going to the hospital with serious injuries.The first cause that contributed to the accident was the lack of regulatory oversight. The overhead failed to install a criticality accident alarm and they were not included in the National Plan for the Prevention of Nuclear Disasters. Due to lack of safety technology, they had to rely on the administration to keep track of the levels. This meant that there was human error involved. The regulator also did not conduct routine inspections that would have caught this lack of safety technology that could have prevented the accident. The second cause of the accident was the safety culture in Japan. The company did not submit the second operation of nuclear facilities to the safety management division because they knew it would not get approved. The company spokesman explained that the company’s revenue was getting low and so they felt they had no choice, but to open a new factory. They knew it wouldn’t get approved so they did it without telling the safety management division.
Was Hisashi Ouchi kept alive?
For 83 days, Ouchi was kept alive against his will as his body became increasingly deformed. On Ouchis arrival at the University of Tokyo Hospital, he had radiation burns across his whole body, a near-zero white blood cell count, and severe damage to his internal organs.
At around 10:35, the precipitation tank reached critical mass when its fill level, containing about 16 kg (35 lb) of uranium, reached criticality in the tall and narrow buffer tank. The hazardous level was reached after the technicians added a seventh bucket containing aqueous uranyl nitrate, enriched to 18.8% U, to the tank. The solution added to the tank was almost seven times the legal mass limit specified by the STA.
There were three workers that immediately began to report seeing blue-white flashes. Two of the workers were working on the tank at the time of the accident, the third was in a nearby room. Once they heard the gamma alarms sound, they evacuated immediately. After evacuating, one of the workers that was at the tank began experiencing symptoms of radiation. The worker passed out and then 70 minutes later regained consciousness. The three workers were then transferred to the hospital, who confirmed that they were exposed to high doses of gamma, neutron, and other irradiation.
Did Hisashi Ouchi suffer?
Hisashi Ouchi, 35, was transported and treated at the University of Tokyo Hospital for 83 days. Ouchi suffered serious radiation burns to most of his body, experienced severe damage to his internal organs, and had a near-zero white blood cell count.
Ouchi and Shinohara immediately experienced pain, nausea, and difficulty breathing; both workers went to the decontamination room where Ouchi vomited. Ouchi received the largest radiation exposure, resulting in rapid difficulties with mobility, coherence, and loss of consciousness. Upon the point of critical mass, large amounts of high-level gamma radiation set off alarms in the building, prompting the three technicians to evacuate. All three of the workers were unaware of the impact of the accident or reporting criteria. A worker in the next building became aware of the injured employees and contacted emergency medical assistance; an ambulance escorted them to the nearest hospital. The fission products contaminated the fuel reprocessing building and immediately outside the nuclear facility. Emergency service workers arrived and escorted other plant workers outside of the facility’s muster zones.Their supervisor, Yutaka Yokokawa, 54, received treatment from the National Institute of Radiological Sciences (NIRS) in Chiba, Japan. He was released three months later with minor radiation sickness. He faced negligence charges in October 2000.The next morning, workers ended the nuclear chain reaction by draining water from the surrounding cooling jacket installed on the precipitation tank. The water served as a neutron reflector. A boric acid solution was added to the precipitation tank to reduce all contents to sub-critical levels; boron was selected for its neutron absorption properties.The 1999 incident resulted from poor management of operation manuals, failure to qualify technicians and engineers, and improper procedures associated with handling nuclear chemicals. The lack of communication between the engineers and workers contributed to lack of reporting when the incident arose. Had the company corrected the errors after the 1997 incident, the 1999 incident would have been considerably less devastating or may not have happened.The incident exposed 37 nearby personnel to trace amounts of radiation in what the government’s Science and Technology Agency declared the country’s worst-yet nuclear accident, which was rated a 3 on the International Nuclear Event Scale. A week after the event, meteorological officials detected unusually high levels of caesium 40 kilometers (25 miles) south-west of the plant. Aerial views over the nuclear processing plant building showed a damaged roof from the fire and explosion allowing continued external radiation exposure.On 11 March 1997, the village of Tokai’s first serious nuclear-related incident occurred at PNC’s bituminisation facility. It is sometimes referred to as the Dōnen accident (動燃事故, Dōnen jiko), ‘Dōnen’ being an abbreviation of PNC’s full Japanese name Dōryokuro Kakunenryō Kaihatsu Jigyōdan. The site encased and solidified low-level liquid waste in molten asphalt (bitumen) for storage, and that day was trialling a new asphalt-waste mix, using 20% less asphalt than normal. A gradual chemical reaction inside one fresh barrel ignited the already-hot contents at 10:00 a.m. and quickly spread to several others nearby. Workers failed to properly extinguish the fire, and smoke and radiation alarms forced all personnel to evacuate the building. At 8 p.m., just as people were preparing to reenter the building, built up flammable gases ignited and exploded, breaking windows and doors, which allowed smoke and radiation to escape into the surrounding area.
Why was Hisashi Ouchi kept alive for so long?
Kept in a special radiation ward to protect him from hospital-borne pathogens, Hisashi Ouchi leaked fluids and cried for his mother. He regularly flatlined from heart attacks, only to be revived at the insistence of his family. His only escape would be a final cardiac arrest — 83 long days later. Cached
PNC management mandated two workers to falsely report the chronological events leading to the facility evacuation in order to cover-up lack of proper supervision. Dōnen leadership failed to immediately report the fire to the Science and Technology Agency (STA). This delay was due to their own internal investigation of the fire causing hampered immediate emergency response teams and prolonged radioactivity exposure. Dōnen facility officials initially reported a 20 percent increase of radiation levels in the area surrounding the reprocessing plant but later revealed the true percent was ten times higher than initially published. Tokai residents demanded criminal prosecution of PNC officials, reorganization of company leadership and closure of the plant itself. Following public outcry, the facility closed until reopening in November 2000 when it was reinstated as a nuclear fuel reprocessing plant.As a response to the incidents, special laws were put in place stipulating operational safety procedures and quarterly inspection requirements. These inspections focused on the proper conduct of workers and leadership. This change mandated both safety education and quality assurance of all facilities and activities associated with nuclear power generation. Starting in 2000, Japan’s atomic and nuclear commissions began regular investigations of facilities, expansive education regarding proper procedures and safety culture regarding handling nuclear chemicals and waste. Ultimately the incident was classified as an “irradiation” not “contamination” accident under Level 4 on the Nuclear Event Scale. This determination labeled the situation low risk outside of the facility. The technicians and workers in the facility were measured for radiation contamination. The three technicians measured significantly higher levels of radiation than the measurement designated the maximum allowable dose (50 mSv) for Japanese nuclear workers. Many employees of the Company and local population suffered accidental radiation exposure exceeding safe levels. Over fifty plant workers tested up to 23 mSv and local residents up to 15 mSv. Fatal doses of radiation ended the lives of two technicians, Ouchi and Shinohara. STA and Ibaraki Prefecture began monitoring the levels of gamma immediately after they were notified of the accident. They collected samples, within 10 km of the site, of the water from the tap, well, and percipitation. They also took samples of vegetation in surrounding areas, sea water, dairy products, and sea products were all measure for radioactivity following the accident. They found low levels of radioactivity in some of the vegetation that was within close proximity of the nuclear facility, but they did not find any in any of the dairy products. They also did not find any in the water or sea.
The JCO facility converted uranium hexafluoride into enriched uranium dioxide fuel. This served as the first step in producing nuclear reactor fuel rods for Japan’s power plants and research reactors. Enriching nuclear fuel requires precision and has the potential to impose extreme risks to technicians. If done improperly, the process of combining nuclear products can produce a fission reaction which, in turn, produces radiation. In order to enrich the uranium fuel, a specific chemical purification procedure is required. The steps included feeding small batches of uranium oxide powder into a designated dissolving tank in order to produce uranyl nitrate using nitric acid. Next, the mixture is carefully transported to a specially-crafted buffer tank. The buffer tank containing the combined ingredients is specially designed to prevent fission activity from reaching criticality. In a precipitation tank, ammonia is added forming a solid product. This tank is meant to capture any remaining nuclear waste contaminants. In the final process, uranium oxide is placed in the dissolving tanks until purified, without enriching the isotopes, in a wet-process technology specialized by Japan.
According to the radiation testing by the STA, Ouchi was exposed to 17 Sv of radiation, Shinohara 10 Sv, and Yokokawa received 3 Sv. The two technicians who received the higher doses, Ouchi and Shinohara, died several months later.
Masato Shinohara, 40, was transported to the same facility where he died on 27 April 2000 of multiple organ failure. He endured radical cancer treatment, numerous successful skin grafts, and a transfusion from congealed umbilical cord blood (to boost stem cell count). Despite his seven month battle, he was unable to fight radiation induced infections and internal bleeding, resulting in fatal lung and kidney failure.
At the wishes of his family, doctors repeatedly revived Ouchi when his heart stopped, even as it became clear the damage his body had sustained through radiation was untreatable. The family deliberated that if Ouchi’s heart stopped again, they would not force the situation again. His wife hoped that he would at least survive until January 1st since it was the arrival of the 2000s. Despite their efforts, his condition deteriorated into multiple organ failure resulting from extensive radiation damage, exacerbated by the repeated incidents where Ouchi’s heart stopped. He died on 21 December 1999 following an unrecoverable cardiac arrest. According to Japanese law, the doctors were legally obligated to proceed with treatment until nothing more could be done, with the exception of express permission from Ouchi to suspend treatment, permission that was not granted during the period in which he was still able to communicate.Benjamin Joseph Bennett Skiing Accident has been unexpected, marking the second fatality on Granite State slopes in just three days. On Wednesday, a 21-year-old man died in a skiing accident at Cannon Mountain in Franconia, New Hampshire, becoming the Granite State’s second fatality in three days. The Boston Globe reports that Cannon Mountain Ski Patrol… Federal officials arrested exiled Chinese millionaire Guo Wengui in New York on Wednesday morning. Wengui is an associate of former Trump White House adviser Steve Bannon. Mr. Guo is accused of orchestrating a $1 billion fraud scam. Steve Bannon is an American political strategist, media Executive, and former investment banker. Following the detention of the… Jack Johnson death reportedly occurred as he tried to save three other boys who drowned in a Solihull lake. Johnson is among the three young boys who tragically died after falling into an icy lake in Solihull, England. A fourth boy is in critical condition in the hospital. Officers continued to search the lake to…His treatment went on indefinitely despite this. On the 59th day of Ouchi’s hospitalization, his supposedly lifeless body suffered three heart attacks within an hour.
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These photos have recently resurfaced, causing distress for many people. Hisashi Ouchi was a nuclear plant worker in Japan who suffered from a horrific nuclear and radiation accident.
During the radiation disaster, Ouchi was exposed to the most radiation (17 Sv) compared to the other two staff members. He was close enough to cause this. Yokokawa received 3 Sv, while Shinohara received 10.
How long can a human survive in radiation?
High radiation doses (i.e., >100 rad (1Gy)) can be potentially life-threatening, although the risk of acute death from radiation can be mitigated through prompt medical treatment. Without proper medical assistance 50% of people with radiation doses of ~400 rem (rad or 4 Gy) or higher will most likely die in 60 days.
Ouchi was kept in a separate radiation ward to keep him away from hospital-borne infections. He frequently went into cardiac arrest and had to be brought back to life.The hospital’s medical staff prolonged his suffering by resuscitating him following each heart attack. On the 83rd day after entering the hospital, the technician died from organ failure in numerous organs. These photos were shared on several websites and social media platforms, sparking user controversy and debate. Many people found it disturbing and disrespectful to share such images, while others argued that educating people about the dangers of nuclear radiation was necessary. He insisted he couldn’t continue like this while receiving his treatment. He made this statement one week after being admitted to the University of Tokyo Hospital.At the nuclear power facility in Tokaimura, Japan, the nuclear disaster started before noon on September 30, 1999. Ouchi and two other employees were required to mix a new batch of fuel by the Japan Nuclear Fuel Conversion Co. (JCO), despite the appalling lack of safety precautions and the prevalence of hazardous shortcuts.This article will explore Hisashi Ouchi’s story and why showing respect to individuals and their families is essential by not sharing images of their corpses.
Who survived the most radiation?
Albert Stevens (1887–1966), also known as patient CAL-1 and most radioactive human ever, was a house painter from Ohio who was subjected to an involuntary human radiation experiment and survived the highest known accumulated radiation dose in any human.
The circulation of graphic photos of Hisashi Ouchi’s body on the internet is controversial. While some argue that educating people about the dangers of nuclear radiation is necessary, others find it disrespectful and unethical to share such images.
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When specimens were taken during Stevens’s cancer surgery, Earl Miller took them for radiological testing; Scott collected urine and stool samples. When the hospital’s pathologist analyzed the materials removed from Stevens during surgery, a startling conclusion was made: Stevens had no cancer. Evidence was that surgeons removed a “benign gastric ulcer with chronic inflammation.” The hospital staff reacted with disbelief. There had been no reason for surgery, although the size of the inflammation was extraordinary. There had also been no therapeutic intent for the experiment, although surgeons assumed that Stevens had received radioactive phosphorus for “special studies.”
Pulitzer Prize–winning author Eileen Welsome wrote extensively about Stevens and other unwitting subjects of similar experiments in The Plutonium Files: America’s Secret Medical Experiments in the Cold War in 1999. She had uncovered the stories and published a series of articles in 1993 detailing the identification of CAL-1, CAL-2 (4-year-old Simeon Shaw), CAL-3 (Elmer Allen), and others. Her work brought intense scrutiny on the wartime experiments which made Stevens famous, posthumously, for his contributions to science without informed consent. Shortly after the article was published in November 1993, the Secretary of Energy, Hazel O’Leary, publicly stated that the government should compensate victims. Responding to the issues revealed by Welsome, President Bill Clinton ordered the formation of the Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments on January 15, 1994, to investigate. Welsome was highly critical of the committee’s final report, which was released in 1995.
Behind this human experiment with plutonium was Dr. Joseph Gilbert Hamilton, a Manhattan Project doctor in charge of the human experiments in California. Hamilton had been experimenting on people (including himself) since the 1930s at Berkeley. He was working with other Manhattan Project doctors to perform toxicity studies on plutonium. It was Hamilton who had begun the 1944 tracer experiments on rats. The opportunity to select a human patient was relatively easy: Hamilton was not only a physicist assigned to U.C. Berkeley, he was “professor of experimental medicine and radiology” at U.C. San Francisco.” Hamilton eventually succumbed to the radiation that he explored for most of his adult life: he died of leukemia at the age of 49.
Once Stevens was out of surgery, his urine and stool samples were analyzed for plutonium activity. The Pu-238 helped the researchers in this respect because it was much easier to detect. But as Stevens’s condition improved and his medical bills soared, he was sent home to recover. The Manhattan District decided to pay for his urine and stool samples to keep him close to San Francisco on the pretext that his “cancer” surgery and remarkable recovery were being studied.
According to Stevens’s surviving son Thomas, Stevens kept samples in a shed behind his house for storage; an intern and a nurse would pick them up once a week. The original data from Stevens’s stool and urine samples was collected for 340 days post-injection. Kenneth Scott analyzed the samples, but he never told Stevens the true reason for collecting them; he also recalled that Stevens’s sister was a nurse and quite suspicious. Whenever Stevens had continued health problems, he would return to the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center (UCSF) and receive free gastro-intestinal lab work by Dr. Robert Stone, a radiologist who performed extensive human experiments in the 1940s. About 10 years after the injection, a “radiologist noted ‘rather marked’ degeneration in the lumbar region of his spine and several degenerating discs.” Plutonium, like radium and many other heavy metals, accumulates in the bones.As the Manhattan Project continued to use plutonium, airborne contamination began to be a major concern. Nose swipes were taken frequently of the workers, with numerous cases of moderate and high readings. While Dr. Robert Stone was the Health Director at the Met Lab in 1944, lead chemist Glenn Seaborg, discoverer of many transuranium elements including plutonium, urged him that a safety program be developed and suggested: “that a program to trace the course of plutonium in the body be initiated as soon as possible … [with] the very highest priority.” Tracer experiments were begun in 1944 with rats and other animals with the knowledge of all of the Manhattan Project managers and health directors of the various sites. In 1945, human tracer experiments began with the intent to determine how to properly analyze excretion samples to estimate body burden. Numerous analytic methods were devised by the lead doctors at the Met Lab (Chicago), Los Alamos, Rochester, Oak Ridge, and Berkeley. The first human plutonium injection experiments were approved in April 1945 for three tests: April 10 at the Manhattan Project Army Hospital in Oak Ridge, April 26 at Billings Hospital in Chicago, and May 14 at the University of California Hospital in San Francisco. Albert Stevens was the person selected in the California test and designated CAL-1 in official documents. The plutonium experiments were not isolated events. During this time, cancer researchers were attempting to discover whether certain radioactive elements might be useful to treat cancer. Recent studies on radium, polonium, and uranium proved foundational to the study of Pu toxicity. For example, polonium (another alpha emitter) research indicated that test sample contamination was a major concern, which is why a cleanroom had to be established at Los Alamos in February 1945 in the Medical Labs Building.
Stevens received approximately 6400 rem (64 Sv) in the 20 years after his injection, or about 300 rem (3 Sv) per year. The annual, whole-body dose currently permitted to radiation workers in the United States is 5 rem; Steven’s total dose was approximately 60 times this amount.Although Stevens was the person who received the highest dose of radiation during the plutonium experiments, he was neither the first nor the last subject to be studied. Eighteen people aged 4 to 69 were injected with plutonium. Subjects who were chosen for the experiment had been diagnosed with a terminal disease. They lived from six days up to 44 years past the time of their injection. Eight of the 18 died within two years of the injection. All died from their preexisting terminal illness or cardiac illnesses. None died from the plutonium itself. Patients from Rochester, Chicago, and Oak Ridge were also injected with plutonium in the Manhattan Project human experiments.
While at the hospital, “both a radiologist and a surgical consultant concluded that Albert probably had cancer but suggested a gastroscopy be done to confirm the diagnosis.” This had never been done. Prior to Stevens’s trip to the hospital, “A local physician suspected Albert had a malignant ulcer that had spread to the liver and advised him to consult specialists at the University of California Hospital.” Stevens’s surgeons found a “huge, ulcerating, carcinomatous mass that had grown into his spleen and liver… Half of the left lobe of the liver, the entire spleen, most of the ninth rib, lymph nodes, part of the pancreas, and a portion of the omentum… were taken out” to help prevent the spread of cancer that Stevens did not have.
As with all radiological testing during World War II, it would have been difficult to receive informed consent for Pu injection studies on civilians. Within the Manhattan Project, plutonium was referred to often by its code designation “49” (from its atomic number 94 and its atomic mass 239) or simply the “product.” Few outside of the Manhattan Project would have known of plutonium, much less of the dangers of radioactive isotopes inside the body. There is no evidence that Stevens had any idea that he was the subject of a secret government experiment in which he would be subjected to a substance that would have no benefit to his health.In a 1975 study of the eighteen people who received plutonium injections in Manhattan Project experiments, CAL-1 (Albert Stevens) was shown to have received by far the highest dose to his bones and liver, calculated as 580 and 1460 rad, respectively. The dose of 580 rad was calculated based on the “average skeletal dose” contributed from the two radionuclides Pu-238 (575 rad) and Pu-239 (7.7 rad). This was then converted to the bone’s surface dose, which was 7,420 rad. Stevens’s absorbed dose was almost entirely based on the Pu-238 in his system. One of the findings of the 1975 study was that Stevens and five others injected with plutonium had endured “doses high enough to be considered carcinogenic. However, no bone tumors have yet appeared.” The word “yet” reflected the fact that four other subjects were still alive in 1975.
What caused Hisashi Ouchi?
On the morning of Sept. 30, 1999, at a nuclear fuel-processing plant in Tokaimura, Japan, 35-year-old Hisashi Ouchi and two other workers were purifying uranium oxide to make fuel rods for a research reactor.
Stevens was a house painter, originally from Ohio, who had settled in California in the 1920s with his wife. He had checked into the University of California Hospital in San Francisco with a gastric ulcer that was misdiagnosed as terminal cancer. According to Earl Miller, acting chief of radiology at the time, he was chosen for this study because “he was doomed” to die. He died on January 9, 1966, of cardiorespiratory failure (heart disease) at the age of 79. His cremated remains were shipped to the Argonne National Laboratory Center for Human Radiobiology in 1975, but they were never returned to the chapel which held them from 1966 to 1975. Some of the ashes were transferred to the National Human Radiobiology Tissue Repository at Washington State University, which keeps the remains of people who died having radioisotopes in their body. Plutonium-238 and plutonium-239 are exceedingly difficult to detect inside the body because they are alpha particle emitters. Unlike the case of radium, which can be detected quite easily, there are no gamma rays to detect from outside the body. As long as a person is alive, the simplest way to detect plutonium would be to analyze a person’s excretion through urine and feces. Unfortunately, this method has its limits in that only a small fraction of Pu is excreted, for example 0.01% of the body burden per day is typical, 2 to 3 weeks after exposure.None of the people at UCSF or those who treated Stevens ever explained to Stevens that he did not have cancer, nor did they disclose to him that he was a part of an experiment; his wife and daughter “figured they were using him for a guinea pig,” but that the experimental treatment had worked. Thomas Stevens, Albert’s son, always filled out medical forms indicating that there was a “history of cancer” in his family because his father had been led to believe that the “treatment” for his cancer had worked.
What is Hisashi Ouchi?
A japanese man named Hisashi Ouchi was involved in an accident in which he was blasted with radiation. The dose was the highest any single living human had received in history. His harrowing experience after is a story of suffering no man, woman, child or animal should ever experience.
Although the original estimates (and some later figures) concerning the activity of the injected solution were erroneous, modern research indicates that Stevens (who weighed 58 kilograms (128 lb)) was injected with 3.5 μCi Pu, and 0.046 μCi Pu, giving him an initial body burden of 3.546 μCi total activity. The fact that he had the highly radioactive Pu-238 (produced in the 60-inch cyclotron at the Crocker Laboratory by deuteron bombardment of natural uranium) contributed heavily to his long-term dose. Had all of the plutonium given to Stevens been the long-lived Pu-239 as used in similar experiments of the time, Stevens’s lifetime dose would have been significantly smaller. The short half-life of 87.7 years of Pu-238 means that a large amount of it decayed during its time inside his body, especially when compared to the 24,100 year half-life of Pu-239. Plutonium was handled extensively by chemists, technicians, and physicists taking part in the Manhattan Project, but the effects of plutonium exposure on the human body were largely unknown. A few mishaps in 1944 had caused certain alarm amongst project leaders, and contamination was becoming a major problem in and outside the laboratories. Plutonium was tracked into civilian areas, plutonium dust was being inhaled by workers, and accidental ingestion was a grave concern for those who routinely handled it. In August 1944, a chemist named Donald Mastick was sprayed in the face with liquid plutonium chloride, causing him to accidentally swallow some. Plutonium was first synthesized in 1940 and isolated in 1941 by chemists at the University of California, Berkeley. Early research (pre-1944) was carried out on small samples manufactured using a cyclotron. The Manhattan Project built mass scale production facilities for the war effort. In November 1943, the X-10 Graphite Reactor at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory began producing significant amounts of the element, and industrial–scale production began in March 1945 with the commissioning of the B Reactor at the Hanford Site in Washington State. The plutonium produced by the B-reactor was earmarked for the implosion-type, plutonium cored nuclear weapons that were being developed as part of the Manhattan Project. Of the three nuclear weapons made during the war, two of them used plutonium as their fissile material.Plutonium remained present in his body for the remainder of his life, the amount decaying slowly through radioactive decay and biological elimination. Stevens died of heart disease some 20 years later, having accumulated an effective radiation dose of 64 Sv (6400 rem) over that period, i.e. an average of 3 Sv per year or 350 μSv/h. The current annual permitted dose for a radiation worker in the United States is 0.05 Sv (or 5 rem), i.e. an average of 5.7 μSv/h.
Albert Stevens (1887–1966), also known as patient CAL-1 and most radioactive human ever, was a house painter from Ohio who was subjected to an involuntary human radiation experiment and survived the highest known accumulated radiation dose in any human. On May 14, 1945, he was injected with 131 kBq (3.55 µCi) of plutonium without his knowledge.
Locals looked on in horror as an explosion at the power reactor rocked Tokaimura on March 11, 1997. Dozens of people were irradiated before a government cover-up was launched to hide negligence. However, the gravity of that event would be dwarfed two short years later.
Exposure to more than seven sieverts of radiation is considered fatal. The supervisor, Yutaka Yokokawa, was exposed to three and would be the only one in the group to survive. Masato Shinohara was exposed to 10 sieverts, while Hisashi Ouchi, who stood directly over the steel bucket, was exposed to 17 sieverts.
In 1999, officials had begun experimenting to see if skipping some of those steps could make the process faster. But it had caused them to miss a Sept. 28 deadline for generating fuel. So, at around 10 a.m. on Sept. 30, Hisashi Ouchi, his 29-year-old peer Masato Shinohara, and their 54-year-old supervisor Yutaka Yokokawa tried a short cut.
After learning about Hisashi Ouchi, read about the New York cemetery worker buried alive. Then, learn about Anatoly Dyatlov, the man behind the Chernobyl nuclear meltdown.
Ouchi’s exposure was the most radiation that any human being had ever suffered. He had been in immediate pain could barely breathe. By the time he arrived at the hospital, he had already vomited violently and fallen unconscious. Hisashi Ouchi’s radiation burns covered his entire body, and his eyes were leaking blood.
This approach would be much faster than bone marrow transplants, with Ouchi’s sister donating her own stem cells. Disturbingly, the method appeared to work before Ouchi returned to his state of near-death.
Most dire was his lack of white blood cells and the absence of an immune response. Doctors placed him in a special ward to prevent infection and assessed the damage to his internal organs. Three days later, he was transferred to the University of Tokyo Hospital — where revolutionary stem cell procedures would be tested.
As for the supervisor of the two deceased workers, Yokokawa was released after three months of treatment. He had suffered minor radiation sickness and survived. But he faced criminal charges of negligence in October 2000. JCO, meanwhile, would pay $121 million to settle 6,875 compensation claims from affected locals.Ouchi’s first week in intensive care involved countless skin grafts and blood transfusions. Cell transplant specialist Hisamura Hirai next suggested a revolutionary approach that had never been tried on radiation victims before: stem cell transplants. These would rapidly restore Ouchi’s ability to generate new blood.
The power plant location in Tokaimura was ideal due to the abundant land space, and it led to a whole campus of nuclear reactors, research institutes, fuel enrichment, and disposal facilities. Ultimately, one-third of the city’s entire population would rely on the nuclear industry rapidly growing in the Ibaraki Prefecture northeast of Tokyo.
Photographs of Hisashi Ouchi’s chromosomes show them completely decimated. The profuse amount of radiation coursing through his blood eradicated the introduced cells. And images of Hisashi Ouchi show that the skin grafts could not hold because his DNA couldn’t rebuild itself.
With his DNA obliterated and brain damage increasing every time he died, Ouchi’s fate had long been sealed. It was only a merciful final cardiac arrest due to multi-organ failure on Dec. 21, 1999, that released him from the pain.
The immediate aftermath of the Tokaimura nuclear accident saw 310,000 of villagers within six miles of the Tokai facility ordered to stay indoors for 24 hours. Over the next 10 days, 10,000 people were checked for radiation, with more than 600 people suffering low levels.The nuclear power plant in Tokai continued to operate under a different company for more than a decade until it shut down automatically during the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami. It has not operated since.
But at his family’s insistence, the doctors continued their experimental treatments even as his skin began to melt from his body. Then, on Ouchi’s 59th day in the hospital, he had a heart attack. But his family agreed that he should be resuscitated in case of death, so the doctors revived him. He would eventually have three heart attacks in one hour.
The nuclear accident began before noon on Sept. 30, 1999, at the nuclear power plant in Tokaimura, Japan. With an obscene lack of safety measures and an abundance of fatal shortcuts, yet determined to meet a deadline, the Japan Nuclear Fuel Conversion Co. (JCO) told Ouchi and two other workers to mix a new batch of fuel.But none of them had any idea what they were doing. Instead of using automatic pumps to mix 5.3 pounds of enriched uranium with nitric acid in a designated vessel, they used their hands to pour 35 pounds of it into steel buckets. At 10:35 a.m., that uranium reached critical mass.
Kept in a special radiation ward to protect him from hospital-borne pathogens, Hisashi Ouchi leaked fluids and cried for his mother. He regularly flatlined from heart attacks, only to be revived at the insistence of his family. His only escape would be a final cardiac arrest — 83 long days later.
When Hisashi Ouchi arrived at the University of Tokyo Hospital after being exposed to the highest level of radiation of any human in history, doctors were stunned. The 35-year-old nuclear power plant technician had almost zero white blood cells and thus no immune system. Soon, he would be crying blood as his skin melted.The plant converted uranium hexafluoride into enriched uranium for nuclear energy purposes. This was typically done with a careful, multi-step process that involved mixing several elements in a carefully-timed sequence.
But the three men were untrained in the process and mixed their materials by hand. Then, they accidentally poured seven times the amount of uranium into an improper tank. Ouchi was standing directly over the vessel as Gamma rays flooded the room. While the plant and local villages were evacuated, Ouchi’s unprecedented ordeal had just begun.
Born in Japan in 1965, Hisashi Ouchi began working in the nuclear energy sector at an important time for his country. With few natural resources and costly dependence on imported energy, Japan had turned to nuclear power production and built the country’s first commercial nuclear power plant just four years before his birth.Shinohara spent seven months fighting for his life. He, too, had received blood stem cell transfusions. In his case, doctors took them from the umbilical cord of a newborn. Tragically, neither that approach nor skin grafts, blood transfusions, or cancer treatments had worked. He died of lung and liver failure on April 27, 2000.
The plant was evacuated as Hisashi Ouchi and his colleagues were taken to the National Institute of Radiological Sciences in Chiba. They had all been directly exposed to the radiation, but because of their proximity to the fuel, they each were irradiated at different degrees.
The Tokaimura nuclear accident was a serious nuclear radiation accident in Japan. It took place at a uranium-reprocessing facility in Tokaimura, northeast of Tokyo, Japan, on 30 September 1999. The accident occurred in a very small fuel preparation plant operated by JCO.Ouchi was reported to have received 17 sieverts (sv) of radiation, Shinohara 10 sv and Yokokawa 3 sv; 8 sieverts is considered a fatal dose, and 50 milli sieverts is the maximum limit of annual dose allowed for Japanese nuclear workers.
How many days was Hisashi Ouchi kept alive?
83 days Hisashi Ouchi, aged 35, died 12 weeks after the accident. He had lost most of his skin, and was kept alive for 83 days, according to his parents and wife will. Ouchi was closest to the tank when the accident occurred.
The three workers who worked at the uranium-reprocessing facility were Hisashi Ouchi, Masato Shinohara, and Yutaka Yokokawa. Two of them died of radiation poisoning. Hisashi Ouchi, aged 35, died 12 weeks after the accident. He had lost most of his skin, and was kept alive for 83 days, according to his parents and wife will. Ouchi was closest to the tank when the accident occurred. He ended up as the first victim of this nuclear accident. Seven months after the accident, Masato Shinohara died, aged 40. The direct cause of the accident was workers putting uranyl nitrate solution containing about 16.6 kg of uranium, which exceeded the critical mass, into a precipitation tank. The tank was not designed to dissolve this type of solution and was not designed to prevent such accidents to happen. As a result, three workers were exposed to neutron radiation doses in excess of allowable limits. Two of these workers later died. If a patient received more than 0.05 Gy (5 rads) and three or four CBCs are taken within 8 to 12 hours of the exposure, a quick estimate of the dose can be made (see Ricks, et. al. for details). If these initial blood counts are not taken, the dose can still be estimated by using CBC results over the first few days. It would be best to have radiation dosimetrists conduct the dose assessment, if possible.Note and record areas of erythema. If possible, take color photographs of suspected radiation skin damage. Consider tissue, blood typing, and initiating viral prophylaxis. Promptly consult with radiation, hematology, and radiotherapy experts about dosimetry, prognosis, and treatment options. Call the Radiation Emergency Assistance Center/Training Site (REAC/TS) at (865) 576-3131 (M-F, 8 am to 4:30 am EST) or (865) 576-1005 (after hours) to record the incident in the Radiation Accident Registry System.
Acute Radiation Syndrome (ARS) (sometimes known as radiation toxicity or radiation sickness) is an acute illness caused by irradiation of the entire body (or most of the body) by a high dose of penetrating radiation in a very short period of time (usually a matter of minutes). The major cause of this syndrome is depletion of immature parenchymal stem cells in specific tissues. Examples of people who suffered from ARS are the survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombs, the firefighters that first responded after the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant event in 1986, and some unintentional exposures to sterilization irradiators.
When the basal cell layer of the skin is damaged by radiation, inflammation, erythema, and dry or moist desquamation can occur. Also, hair follicles may be damaged, causing epilation. Within a few hours after irradiation, a transient and inconsistent erythema (associated with itching) can occur. Then, a latent phase may occur and last from a few days up to several weeks, when intense reddening, blistering, and ulceration of the irradiated site are visible. Jarrett DG. Medical Management of Radiological Casualties Handbook, 1 st ed. Bethesda , Maryland : Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute (AFRRI); 1999. National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP). Management of Terrorist Events Involving Radioactive Material, NCRP Report No. 138. Bethesda , Maryland : NCRP; 2001.
Who was the worst radiation victim?
Albert Stevens (1887–1966), also known as patient CAL-1 and most radioactive human ever, was a house painter from Ohio who was subjected to an involuntary human radiation experiment and survived the highest known accumulated radiation dose in any human.
ARS usually will be accompanied by some skin damage. It is also possible to receive a damaging dose to the skin without symptoms of ARS, especially with acute exposures to beta radiation or X-rays. Sometimes this occurs when radioactive materials contaminate a patient’s skin or clothes.If a patient is known to have been or suspected of having been exposed to a large radiation dose, draw blood for CBC analysis with special attention to the lymphocyte count, every 2 to 3 hours during the first 8 hours after exposure (and every 4 to 6 hours for the next 2 days). Observe the patient during this time for symptoms and consult with radiation experts before ruling out ARS.
In most cases, healing occurs by regenerative means; however, very large skin doses can cause permanent hair loss, damaged sebaceous and sweat glands, atrophy, fibrosis, decreased or increased skin pigmentation, and ulceration or necrosis of the exposed tissue.
From Andrews GA, Auxier JA, Lushbaugh CC. The Importance of Dosimetry to the Medical Management of Persons Exposed to High Levels of Radiation. In Personal Dosimetry for Radiation Accidents. Vienna : International Atomic Energy Agency; 1965.Berger ME, O’Hare FM Jr, Ricks RC, editors. The Medical Basis for Radiation Accident Preparedness: The Clinical Care of Victims. REAC/TS Conference on the Medical Basis for Radiation Accident Preparedness. New York : Parthenon Publishing; 2002.
If no radiation exposure is initially suspected, you may consider ARS in the differential diagnosis if a history exists of nausea and vomiting that is unexplained by other causes. Other indications are bleeding, epilation, or white blood count (WBC) and platelet counts abnormally low a few days or weeks after unexplained nausea and vomiting. Again, consider CBC and chromosome analysis and consultation with radiation experts to confirm diagnosis.The concept of cutaneous radiation syndrome (CRS) was introduced in recent years to describe the complex pathological syndrome that results from acute radiation exposure to the skin.
* The absorbed doses quoted here are “gamma equivalent” values. Neutrons or protons generally produce the same effects as gamma, beta, or X-rays but at lower doses. If the patient has been exposed to neutrons or protons, consult radiation experts on how to interpret the dose.
Has anyone survived radiation?
Survival decreases with increasing dose. Most deaths occur within a few months after exposure. in most cases, bone marrow cells will begin to repopulate the marrow. There should be full recovery for a large percentage of individuals from a few weeks up to two years after exposure.
But within a day, Ouchi’s condition got worse. He began to require oxygen, and his abdomen swelled, according to the book. Things continued downhill after he arrived at the University of Tokyo hospital. Six days after the accident, a specialist who looked at images of the chromosomes in Ouchi’s bone marrow cells saw only scattered black dots, indicating that they were broken into pieces. Ouchi’s body wouldn’t be able to generate new cells. A week after the accident, Ouchi received a peripheral blood stem cell transplant, with his sister volunteering as a donor.
On Dec. 21, at 11:21 p.m., Ouchi’s body finally gave out. According to Lyman’s and Dolley’s article, he died of multiple organ failure. Japan’s Prime Minister at the time, Keizo Obuchi, issued a statement expressing his condolences to the worker’s family and promised to improve nuclear safety measures, according to Japan Times.
When Ouchi, a handsome, powerfully built, former high school rugby player who had a wife and young son, arrived at the hospital, he didn’t yet look like a victim of intense radiation exposure, according to “A Slow Death: 83 Days of Radiation Sickness,” a 2002 book by a team of journalists from Japan’s NHK-TV, later translated into English by Maho Harada. His face was slightly red and swollen and his eyes were bloodshot, but he didn’t have any blisters or burns, though he complained of pain in his ears and hand. The doctor who examined him even thought that it might be possible to save his life.Ouchi, who was closest to the nuclear reaction, received what probably was one of the biggest exposures to radiation in the history of nuclear accidents. He was about to suffer a horrifying fate that would become a cautionary lesson of the perils of the Atomic Age.
Internet articles frequently describe Ouchi as ‘the most radioactive man in history,’ or words to that effect, but nuclear expert Lyman stops a bit short of that assessment.According to an October 1999 account in medical journal BMJ, the irradiated workers were taken to the National Institute of Radiological Sciences in Chiba, just east of Tokyo. There, it was determined that their lymphatic blood count had dropped to almost zero. Their symptoms included nausea, dehydration and diarrhea. Three days later, they were transferred to University of Tokyo Hospital, where doctors tried various measures in a desperate effort to save their lives.
“These criticality accidents present the potential for delivery of a large amount of radiation in a short period of time, though a burst of neutrons and gamma rays,” Lyman says. “That one burst, if you’re close enough, you can sustain more than a lethal dose of radiation in seconds. So that’s the scary thing about it.”
“The estimated doses for Ouchi were among the highest known, though I’m not sure if it’s the highest,” explains Lyman. “These typically occur in these kinds of criticality accidents.”
“The most obvious lesson is that when you’re working with [fissile] materials, criticality limits are there for a reason,” explains Edwin Lyman, a physicist and director of nuclear power safety for the Union of Concerned Scientists, and co-author, with his colleague Steven Dolley, of the article in Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.
The two workers quickly left the room, according to The Post’s account. But even so, the damage already had been done. Ouchi, who was closest to the reaction, had received a massive dose of radiation. There have been various estimates of the exact amount, but a 2010 presentation by Masashi Kanamori of the Japan Atomic Energy Agency put the amount at 16 to 25 gray equivalents (GyEq), while Shinohara, who was about 18 inches (46 centimeters) away, received a lesser but still extremely harmful dose of about 6 to 9 GyEq and a third man, who was further away, was exposed to less radiation.
It wasn’t the first time it had happened. A 2000 U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission report noted that before Tokaimura, 21 previous criticality accidents had occurred between 1953 and 1997.Radiation exposure can be expressed in different sorts of units. Rads or grays reflect the amount of radiation absorbed, while rems and sieverts reflect the relative biological damage caused by the dose, according to MIT News.