The Environment Chronicle

Notable environmental events between 1950 and 1959 Deselect

  1. Reactor accident at Windscale (Sellafield, England). 35 fatalities.

  2. The Federal State Unitary Enterprise ‘Production Enterprise Mayak’ was founded for the industrial production of plutonium for nuclear weapons. It is located in Cheljabinsk province in the South Urals, not far from the cities of Kishtym. An explosion of a tank with liquid radioactive waste occured on September 29, 1957. The accident released large amounts of fission products that contaminated an area covering 300 x 50 km, later called the Kyshtym footprint. The Kyshtym accident measured as a Level 6 disaster on the International Nuclear Event Scale.

  3. The IAEA is the world´s center of cooperation in the nuclear field. It was set up as the world´s "Atoms for Peace" organization in 1957 within the United Nations family. The Agency works with its Member States and multiple partners worldwide to promote safe, secure and peaceful nuclear technologies.

  4. After an accident involving radioactive material, a large area around an atomic facility in the Urals (Russia) becomes contaminated.

  5. On 17 October 1956, the Queen Elisabeth II opened Reactor number 1 at Calder Hall, bringing into service the world's first industrial scale nuclear power station.

  6. Early in the morning on March 1, 1954, the hydrogen bomb, code named Bravo, was detonated on the surface of the reef in the northwestern corner of Bikini Atoll and created widespread radioactive contamination.

  7. The west of the lake has consumed all of its oxygen. Mayflies larvae die on the lake bed, and cannot decompose, due to the lack of oxygen. In addition, concentrations of fertilising nitrate and phosphate ions have trebled between the 1930s and the 1970s.

  8. A thermal reaction releases TCDD in a production plant, injuring 55. Investigation after 30 years shows

  9. Arbor Day is celebrated in many countries around the world. The idea originally came from Nebraska. Arbor Day was established by J. Sterling Morton in 1872. In November 1951 the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) arranged for all member nations to set aside one particular day each year to celebrate Arbor Day. For Germany it is April 25.

  10. The worst smog on record hangs over London for five days. 4,000 more than average die during the period. The smog was created by accumulated sulphur dioxide from coal burning.

  11. In 1952, the first incidents of mercury poisoning appear in the population of Minimata Bay in Japan, caused by consumption of fish polluted with mercury, bringing over 500 fatalities. Since then, Japan has had the strictest environmental laws in the industrialised world.

  12. The Federal Republic of Germany became the 64th member state of UNESCO on 11 July 1951.

  13. In Ohio (USA), a factory releases c. 200 t of radioactive uranium dust into the environment, with government permission.

  14. Each year, on 23 March, the World Meteorological Organization, its 188 Members and the worldwide meteorological community celebrate World Meteorological Day. This Day commemorates the entry into force, on that date in 1950, of the WMO Convention creating the Organization. Subsequently, in 1951, WMO was designated a specialized agency of the United Nations System. The United Nations weather agency is marking World Meteorological Day by calling for improvements to climate observation technologies to help people and economies adapt to climate change, climate variability and extreme weather.