Some people believe that the July 1959 accident involving the Sodium Reactor Experiment was the worst nuclear accident in US history. Others believe the accident was much more benign. In response to stakeholder requests for more information about what happened, DOE hosted an informational workshop on August 29, 2009 designed to explore the diverse expert and community perspectives on what occurred prior to, during, and immediately after the accident.
The workshop began with presentations from three independent experts: Dr. Paul Pickard of Sandia National Laboratories, Dr. Thomas Cochran of the Natural Resources Defense Council, and Dr. Richard Denning of Ohio State University. Over 185 workshop attendees then had an opportunity to ask questions of these experts. Finally, community members had an opportunity to provide their own perspectives on what occurred.
A video documenting the workshop is presented below in segments separated by topic.
- DOE Introductory Comments
- Presentation: Dr. Paul Pickard, Sandia National Laboratories
- Presentation: Dr. Thomas Cochran, Natural Resources Defense Council
- Presentation: Dr. Richard Denning, Ohio State University
- Diverse Perspectives on the SRE Accident
- Q&A Session
Other Workshop Materials
Items from the workshop are available here, including:
- The agenda for the workshop.
- Dr. Pickard’s presentation.
- Dr. Cochran’s presentation.
- Dr. Denning’s presentation.
- Biographical information about the three presenters.
- A handout designed to help community members develop their own statements regarding their perspectives on the accident, which includes summary descriptions of the accident prepared by Dr. Pickard and Dr. Denning.
- A handout prepared by Dr. Cochran summarizing his perspective on what occurred during the accident.
- A glossary of terms related to radioactivity and operations of the SRE facility.
- A library of over 80 documents, articles, text book descriptions, and symposia proceedings describing the design, operations, causes of the accident, activities taken to recover and restart the reactor, and decommissioning of the reactor facility.
- Workshop posters presenting: timelines for the SRE history and Run 14, details regarding the operation of the SRE and the accident, and radioactive production and decay of the SRE reactor inventory.