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The Criticality Accident in Sarov

English STI/PUB/1106 92-0-100101-0
46 15 15.50 2001

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On 17 June 1997 a physicist working as a senior technician at the Nuclear Centre, Sarov, in the Russian Federation, was severely exposed as a result of a criticality accident with an assembly of highly enriched uranium. The exposure, which caused a high neutron radiation dose, led to death within three days despite prompt medical attention. This is the first report that the IAEA has published on a criticality accident. It is based on the information provided by the Russian authorities and addresses the circumstances leading to the accident as well as the medical management of the patient.
Contents: 1. Introduction; 2. Radiation protection and regulatory control in the Russian Federation; 3. The site of the accident; 4. Circumstances of the accident; 5. Response to the accident; 6. Dosimetric analysis; 7. Medical treatment of the patient; 8. Findings of the post mortem investigation (autopsy); 9. Findings and lessons to be learned.

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