List of military nuclear accidents

This article lists notable military accidents involving nuclear material. Civilian accidents are listed at List of civilian nuclear accidents. For a general discussion of both civilian and military accidents, see nuclear and radiation accidents.

Scope of this article

In listing military nuclear accidents, the following criteria have been adopted:

  1. There must be well-attested and substantial health damage, property damage or contamination.
  2. The damage must be related directly to radioactive material, not merely (for example) at a nuclear power plant.
  3. To qualify as "military", the nuclear operation/material must be principally for military purposes.
  4. To qualify as "accident", the damage should not be intentional, unlike in nuclear warfare.


A sketch of Louis Slotin's criticality accident used to determine exposure of those in the room at the time.

In the above incidents, both Daghlian (August 21, 1945 case) and Slotin (May 21, 1946 case), were working with the same bomb core which became known as the "demon core." It was later melted down and combined with existing weapons-grade material.


The Castle Bravo fallout pattern.


SL-1 reactor being removed from the National Reactor Testing Station.
For more details on this topic, see SL-1.


Baneberry's radioactive plume rises from a shock fissure. Contaminants were carried in three different directions by the wind.




See also

Notes and references

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