Initial Symptoms of Acute Radiation Syndrome in the JCO Criticality Accident in Tokai-mura
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A criticality accident occurred on September 30, 1999, at the uranium conversion plant in Tokai-mura (Tokai-village), Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan. When the criticality occurred, three workers saw a "blue-white glow," and a radiation monitor alarm was sounded. They were severely exposed to neutron and γ-ray irradiation, and subsequently developed acute radiation syndrome (ARS). One worker reported vomiting within minutes and loss of consciousness for 10-20 seconds. This worker also had diarrhea an hour after the exposure. The other worker started to vomit almost an hour after the exposure. The three workers, including their supervisor, who had no symptoms at the time, were brought to the National Mito Hospital by ambulance. Because of the detection of γ-rays from their body surface by preliminary surveys and decreased numbers of lymphocytes in peripheral blood, they were transferred to the National Institute of Radiological Sciences (NIRS), which has been designated as a hospital responsible for radiation emergencies. Dose estimations for the three workers were performed by prodromal symptoms, serial changes of lymphocyte numbers, chromosomal analysis, and <sup>24</sup>Na activity. The results obtained from these methods were fairly consistent. Most of the data, such as the dose rate of radiation, its distribution, and the quality needed to evaluate the average dose, were not available when the decision for hematopoitic stem cell transplantation had to be made. Therefore, prodromal symptoms may be important in making decisions for therapeutic strategies, such as stem-cell transplantation in heavily exposed victims.
- Journal of Radiation Research
Journal of Radiation Research 42(SUPPL), S157-S166, 2001
Journal of Radiation Research Editorial Committee