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Near Meltdown in 1969/Sweden

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

(June 11, 1993) On 1 May 1969, technicians lost control over the Ågesta nuclear reactor, which is located in a suburb of Stockholm.

(392.3826) WISE-Stockholm - A series of improbable events led to a near meltdown. The reactor operated from 1964 to 1974. Besides being used for military research, the reactor supplied about 30,000 homes with hot water.

In mid-April 1993, after 24 years of silence, Karl-Erik Sandstedt, then Assistant Director of the Ågesta reactor, explained the incident to DN (the largest newspaper in Sweden). He stated, "It was without a doubt the most serious incident in the history of the Swedish nuclear industry."

The accident occurred when early in the morning a technician made an error in a routine change of a valve. A connection exploded and 500 tons of water ran over the complex. The water fell from a cooling tower 30 meters over the reactor building. On its way down, it knocked out the reactor control system. Short circuits resulted in valves opening and closing at random. Several times throughout the day the emergency core cooling system was a hair away from failure. The public was not notified. Officials determined that evacuation of the area at risk could not take place fast enough.

Source: DN (Sweden), 13 Apr. 1993, page A 6.
Contact: FMKK (The Peoples' Movement Against Nuclear Power and Weapons), Box 17246, S-10462 Stockholm, Sweden; tel: 46-8-642 3336; fax: 46-8-642 2829.