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After 83 days of nuclear accident treatment, he watched his body rot into a living corpse



What is the most horrible death method in your imagination?



Probably  watching his body rot and the organ function gradually declines.


Consciously enduring extreme pain but powerless.


Relying on the cold medical machine to maintain life and linger.



The eventual death will eventually become a relief.



The rumors of Japan’s nuclear radiation have made People are disquieted.


If you are not afraid, because you don’t know much about the extent to which nuclear radiation can be devastating to human beings.


19 years ago, the most serious nuclear accident in Japanese history occurred.


The victim experienced one of the most painful ways of dying.


The failure of medical treatment to save his life only slowed down the process of death.



Newspaper report at the time


Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan, is an important industrial base that abandons prosperity.


There are many high-quality research centers and factories in there.


It also includes JCO, a nuclear fuel treatment plant in Donghae Village.



JCO site at the time


At 10:35 on September 30, 1999, this quiet village suddenly made a loud noise.


The sound is from JCO.


And as the sound scatters , there is something more terrible - nuclear radiation.


The accident affected 213 people, who were exposed to different degrees of radiation.


Two of them died in shocking ways during a few months of treatment.



At the time of the incident, three employees were working on the preparation of enriched uranium in the operating room.


They need to configure the powdered raw uranium and nitric acid into a crude uranium nitrate solution.


The uranium nitrate is then poured into a large sedimentation tank for reaction.


This is to obtain a refined concentrated uranium nitrate solution to achieve uranium recovery from nuclear fuel.



 Uranium nitrate in Stainless steel barrel 


At that time, a foreman was not directly involved in the operation .


The 35-year-old Ouchi and the 40-year-old Shinohara are skilled in preparing as usual.


However, the work of this day did not usher in a perfect ending.


During the pouring of the solution into the sedimentation tank, a flashing blue light suddenly appeared in the tank, and the monitor gave a harsh alarm.


Unexpected critical accidents have occurred.

The critical accident is caused by a chain nuclear fission reaction due to exceeding the critical reaction* condition.


That is to say, a severe uranium nuclear fission occurred in the tank.


A large number of neutrons and Y rays are quickly emanate.


With the right hand holding the solution funnel above the trough, it became the main target of the attack.


*Note: The mass, concentration, volume, temperature, etc. of the reactants may be the predisposing factors for critical accidents.

For the simulation of the scene at that time, the right hand funnel is Ouchi.


Critical accidents are characterized by large amounts of radiation, but with a small release range.


So most of the radiation concentrated on attacking Shinohara and Ouchi.


Shinohara suffered 6 to 10 Gy of radiation from a source of radiation.


Ouchi, which is only 0.65 meters away from the radiation source, has a radiation dose of 16 to 23 Gy.


This amount of radiation is about 20,000 times the upper limit of the average person.

Hisashi Ouchi


After the accident, the ambulanceman quickly transferred the two to the National Institute of Radiology.


Oddly enough, the Ouchi, which is the closest to the radiation source and most exposed to radiation, is no different from normal people.


He just had darker skin and redness in his right hand.


But there is no trace of burns on the body, and the consciousness is very clear, unlike the severe radiation.


So Dr. Maekawa took the patient and confidently thought that he might save his life.



However, the situation is not as optimistic as expected.

This sturdy man was quickly devastated by high doses of radiation in the body.

The main attack of radiation into the body is the chromosome in the cell.

It like a sudden bomb bombed the  23 pairs of arranged orderly chromosomes .

Then the chromosomes are broken several times, and some stick together, becoming a chaotic chaos.

This is much more terrible than ordinary single-pair chromosomal abnormalities such as Down's syndrome.

Confusing chromosome

Chromosomes serve as an important mission for the transmission of genetic information.

It went wrong and cell proliferation could not be done.

That is to say, the old cells have normal metabolic death, but no new cells are added.


The most terrible consequences can be imagined, when the number of cells is reduced to a certain extent, the human body will die.

Although there has been no similar case experience before, doctors have long expected that the consequences will be serious.


Out of care for the patient, or in order to obtain valuable case materials.

The doctors still want to try their best to keep the life of the long time.

The first challenge is the abnormality of the most proliferative part of the cell.

Within a week, the number of white blood cells in his immune system was reduced to less than 1/10 of that of normal people.



White blood cells are extremely important immune cells in the immune system.

It acts as a defense against most germs and viruses.


If you lose the immune function of white blood cells, even small bacteria can cause Ouchi  death.

White blood cells chasing and phagocytizing bacteria


This urgent situation made the former Chuan and others horrified.

After intensive deliberation, they tried to transplant Ouchi's sister's white blood cells into his body.


However, whether the transplanted white blood cells can function normally in other bodies can be judged after waiting for 10 days.

So they immediately let Ouchi into the sterile ward.

And the family folded the paper cranes that symbolize hope day after day, and they can only hang on the door next door that he could not see.

In addition, after peeling off the medical tape of the body surface, the skin is directly torn off.

The skin is constantly peeling off, but it cannot be regenerated, leaving traces of unrepairable and painful body.

It is only possible to continually put on gauze and block the leakage of body fluid as much as possible.

At the same time, his lungs began to accumulate water and breathing became difficult.

Ouchi Originally could have been talking normally, now only plug in the ventilator.

He can no longer communicate with his family

Have to be covered with gauze due to severe fluid outflow


In the worsening of the disease, finally came a good news - my sister's white blood cell transplant was successful.

However, after a week, the hope of re-igniting was finally extinguished.


The blood begins to lesion, and the newly placed white blood cells can't escape the fate of chromosome damage.


It seems that the radiation received not only makes their own cells abnormal, but also allows them to acquire the ability to deliver radioactive materials.

So they let the foreign cells fall to the same end.

At this time, Dr. Maekawa and others have no way

But this precious human body, which has never been seen before, is deeply attracted to them by radiation experiments.


They are still trying to find the appropriate means from the latest research results.

hope to stop the raging radiation damage.

But they do not know that successful transplantation is the only good news in the entire treatment process.

What the doctor can do is to maintain the undulating fold line on the ECG with a variety of instruments.

And the use of a large number of anesthetics to reduce his suffering.

After 27 days of admission, Ouchi's intestinal mucosa began to fall off in pieces.

Injury to the intestines caused him to develop severe diarrhea.

Even a day's discharge of 3 liters is reached.

Next, the intestines begin to bleed a lot.

It takes only half a day to give him more than 10 blood transfusions.

Intestinal mucosa shedding

Moreover, the condition of the skin is also rapidly deteriorated, and a large amount of body fluid is continuously oozing out.

He loses 10 liters of water every day through the skin and intestines.

Every day around him, in addition to the cold machine, there are nurses who are full of sympathy.

They spend almost half a day on their skin every day.

It is a shocking picture of the rotting skin and the constantly exfoliating body fluid.

Right hand comparison chart of 8 days (upper) and 26 days (below) after the accident

Massive bleeding and massive blood transfusions put a heavy burden on his heart.

He must maintain a strong heartbeat to keep the blood fast.

So that the frequency reaches 120 times per minute, which is equivalent to an athlete lying on a hospital bed.

However, on the morning of the 59th day, his heartbeat suddenly stopped.

This can frighten the entire medical team.

They immediately took emergency measures.

After an hour of emergency rescue, it finally returned to normal.

But since then, his brain, kidneys and other organs have been severely damaged.

At this time, he was unable to perceive the external response and could not respond.

A week later, the blood in the long time was abnormal again.

The immune cells in his body spread out and began to attack his own cells.

Under the attack, the originally deficient cells are reduced in number.

And doctors are already at a loss.

The only thing they can do is to constantly replenish blood cells through blood transfusions.

The trend of worsening the condition has accelerated significantly.

However, there is no corresponding medical measure that can save the life .

It seems that there is no point in the hope that Ouchi will survive if it is only achieved by machine.

On the 81st day, the doctor and his family decided to stop the rescue if the heartbeat stopped again.

On the 83rd day, after the wife and son visit Ouchiu, he stopped breathing at this night.

After 83 days of fighting and suffering, people still failed to save Ouchi from the nuisance of nuclear radiation.

He endured unimaginable torture in a deteriorating condition.

Another Shinohara, who had relatively little radiation, died after 221 days of treatment.

This battle also made people know that modern medicine is so weak when faced with nuclear radiation.

Another victim, Shinohara, also experienced a terrible death process.

But this is also an inspiration for medical science like never before.

In the end, almost all cells in Ouchi were broken, and only the cardiomyocytes remained  fibrous tissue.

Why cardiomyocytes can be protected from radioactive damage may be the direction that future medical research needs to break through.

 fibrous tissue intact cardiomyocytes

This incident not only challenged the medical treatment of nuclear radiation, but also caused the alarm to the nuclear processing plant and related staff.

According to the investigation, the direct cause of the accident was actually inseparable from them.

Another victim, Shinohara, also experienced a terrible death process.

But this is also an inspiration for medical science like never before.

In the end, almost all cells in Ouchi were broken, and only the cardiomyocytes remained fibrous.

Why cardiomyocytes canresistance radioactive damage may be the direction that future medical research needs to break through.

fibrous tissue intact cardiomyocytes

This incident not only challenged the medical treatment of nuclear radiation, but also caused the alarm to the nuclear processing plant and related staff.


According to the investigation, the direct cause of the accident was actually inseparable from them.

lament for the dead

When the factory regulates the treatment of enriched uranium, the quality of uranium is limited to 2.4 kg.

On the same day, the two people mixed 2.4 kg of uranium oxide powder with other solvents and added it to the sedimentation tank.

But in fact, they had poured a certain amount of uranium nitrate solution the day before.

When they poured the last batch of solution, there were already about 16 kg of uranium in the sedimentation tank.

This value is 7 times the specified value.


At this time, the critical mass is obviously exceeded, and a critical accident occurs.

Control of critical reaction afterwards

But is this all the fault of the two employees? The JCO factory is  cannot escape censure.

Ouchi and Shinohara are the employees who have just transferred this process.

The two have never received specialized operational training.

The foreman also has only 2 to 3 weeks of work experience.


The encounter of various accidental factors eventually led to the accident.

Accident research report

In 2003, JCO's uranium conversion activities were completely stopped.

The company was fined 1 million yen.

The corresponding person in charge was also sentenced to criminal terms.


Japan has therefore passed the law on atomic energy disaster prevention and established a disaster prevention base throughout the country.

The original intention of human beings to use nuclear energy is wonderful.

Powerful nuclear power can always bring convenience to civilians and the military.

But it is also ruthless. If human beings can't control it, it will hurt humans.

Those who sacrificed for such a long time should not only be a painful memory.


Instead, let people rethink how to avoid damage while maintaining development.

****Reference material

NHK documentary: Nuclear Critical Incident in Tokai Village, Japan - 83 days of treatment for nuclear radiation.

CHEN Xiaohua, MAO Bingzhi. Critical accident and emergency medical treatment of nuclear transfer plant in Donghai Village, Japan [J]. International Journal of Radiation Medicine and Nuclear Medicine, 2003, 27(1): 28-30.

Summary Report on Critical Incidents of JCO Nuclear Fuel Treatment Plant in Donghai Village, Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan [J]. Atomic EnergyCouncil, 2018.


Nuclear fuel aftertreatment. Wikipedia.