Newswise — A revealing new book claims that the first nuclear disaster to claim fatalities took place on U.S. soil. Idaho Falls: The Untold Story of America's First Nuclear Accident attempts to answer questions about the devastating accident that have gone unanswered for more than forty years.
The SL-1 was a military test reactor hidden in Idaho's Lost River Desert that exploded January 3, 1961. Author William McKeown investigates the ensuing cover-up of the accident and examines the potential causes of the disaster. Possible explanations for the tragedy range from faulty reactor design and mismanagement of the reactor's facilities to the personal problems of incompetent personnel. The author also investigates rumours of a failed love affair that prompted deliberate sabotage of the plant, as is the ensuing cover-up by the U.S. government.
McKeown employs sound research in his search for the truth, including details uncovered in official documents, firsthand accounts from rescue workers and nuclear industry insiders. Exclusive interviews with the victims' family and friends illustrate the devastating nature of the world's first nuclear disaster and point towards a naÃ¯ve and overzealous emerging U.S. atomic energy industry.
As the facts emerge, so too does the claim by McKeown that the truth of America's first nuclear accident was deliberately suppressed to protect the budding nuclear energy industry in the U.S.
McKeown is a reporter and editor based in Colorado Springs.