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CE1 Richard Carlton Legg

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CE1 Richard Carlton Legg

Birth
Okemos, Ingham County, Michigan, USA
Death 3 Jan 1961 (aged 26)
Idaho Falls, Bonneville County, Idaho, USA
Burial Kingston, Tuscola County, Michigan, USA
Memorial ID 67718734 View Source

Nuclear Incident Fatality. On January 3, 1961 at 9:01pm, alarms sounded at the fire stations and security headquarters of the U.S. National Reactor Testing Station where the reactor was located in rural Idaho. An investigation found two operators dead with a third dying two hours later, and detected high radiation levels in the building. This was the world's first fatal nuclear accident; the single control bar was manually removed rapidly causing a small, 3MW experimental BWR called SL-1 (Stationary Low-Power Plant No. 1) to be destroyed by exploding. Besides Navy Electrician Mate Legg, Army Specialists John Byrnes and Richard McKinley were killed. Since the bodies were contaminated with life-long radio-active isotopes, each were buried in a lead-lined coffin, buried extra-deep, and covered with many feet of concrete as their bodies were radioactive. The graves are to stay undisturbed unless prior approval of the Atomic Energy Commission. After a two-year investigation, it was determined that there would never be one single control rod used to employ in an atomic pile; modern ones have scores of rods. The incident was not determined an accident or an act of sabotage.

Bio by: Linda Davis


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Michigan
CE1 U.S. Navy


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