Talk:Goiânia accident

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Questions about aftermath[edit]

Not that the facts listed here disagree with those at List of nuclear accidents. --Andrew 20:41, May 5, 2004 (UTC)

Andrew: I suppose you are referring to the numbers of victims: Well the 244 / 400 is descipancy, I might look into that when I have the time. Concerning the deathtoll, it's in the nature of such accidents that counts disagree: Radiation poisoning can be rather clearly diagnized but what about cancer? Sanders muc 22:33, 5 May 2004 (UTC)Reply[reply]

That's what I was referring to; it might be worth putting something in the article to indicate that estimates differ. As you say, it's alarming whatever way you look at it. Do you know what was done to the sites? (The house whose floor got covered in dust, for example) Are they abandoned, with warning signs? Were they cleaned up? Are they in use without cleanup? I sort of fear the last, since they're inhabited by dirt-poor people. For the purposes of studying radiological weapons it'd be good to know too. --Andrew 01:30, May 6, 2004 (UTC)

After reading this source, I suspect that this article might be better named 'Goiânia Radiation Incident' with a redirect from 'Goiânia accident'. That is, unless it is universally known as the 'Goiânia accident'. -- Solipsist 15:30, 28 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Maybe you are right. Simon A. 16:26, 28 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Name of wife[edit]

Is there any better way to refer to the wife of the junkyard owner, other than 'the wife'? Is her name known, or is that confidencial? -- Solipsist 15:45, 28 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Don't know. Just wrote the article from Web search results. So, if you find her name, add it. ;-) Simon A. 16:26, 28 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Not "waste"[edit]

The Cs-137 source that was opened and caused the contamination was not radioactive waste. It was a sealed source in an irradiator that was illegally abandoned in the hospital. All sealed sources like this are required to be under control and inventoried and reported if missing. All these controls failed in this case, but the source was not in fact radioactive waste. -- User: 05:12, 13 September 2005

Thanks for the clarification - I've removed the mention of waste from the article. Be bold: if you see any other mistakes feel free to edit the page directly. -- Solipsist 07:02, 13 September 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This was an incident not an accident. Immaterial to most I guess. --Wetman 07:57, 13 September 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Agreed, see comment 28 Sep 04 above. No one seems to object, so it is probably time to move. -- Solipsist 16:17, 13 September 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I believe the "accident" terminology is correct. Under the International Atomic Energy Agency's scale of nuclear events (the INES) Goiânia is clearly not an incident but an accident (a major accident in fact). See [1]. Mucky Duck 18:13, 13 September 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree that it is an accident, but not a "Major Accident" -- that is only for the highest level of the scale, for accidents like Chernobl (sp?). Since the exposure was to less than 100 Terabecquerels, the case could be made that it wasn't even a "Serious Accident". Regardless, it is an accident, so I created the "Goiânia incident" page as a redirect to this one. If the discussion goes the other way, it shouldn't be a problem to reverse my work. Mdotley 16:57, 13 September 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Similar incident[edit]

I saw a documentary about an incident in which radioactive rods from a dumped Mexican X-ray machine came loose, which was only discovered when a lost lorry driver ended up triggering a radiation alarm at Los Alamos. Was this the same incident, and if so, should there be mention of the lorry driver? smurrayinchester(User), (Talk) 11:02, 14 November 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Different incident. This one's in Brazil. --Carnildo 06:14, 15 November 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]


cool this helped me on my debate!!! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:38, 22 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The article only says the radiation was 817 TBq, without comparing it to anything. This don't make any sense to most people, who have no idea about how much 1 Bq is.

I have added details of the average smoke detector source as this is likely to be the only radioactive source that the average person will buy in their lives (as part of a smoke alarm).Cadmium —Preceding undated comment added 10:47, 29 July 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Furthermore, the article says that Devair Alves Ferreira received a dosage of "7.0 Gy, not fatal." How could 7 grays not be fatal? According to Radiation poisoning, a dosage of 6-10 sieverts (which are equivalent to grays) has a 100% fatality rate. Am I misunderstanding the scale of radiation poisoning, or was Devair Alves Ferreira the only person to survive such a dosage? -Etoile 20:54, 27 July 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
About the superhuman feat of living despite a 7 Gy dose, the human body (and other living things) has a self repair mechanism. If the dose is given quickly to the subject in one batch then the self repair mechanism has no time to work. But if the dose rate is lower, or the dose is given in small installments then the biological system can endure a much larger dose. I will alter the article to explain this.Cadmium —Preceding undated comment added 10:24, 29 July 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Can someone convert the microcuries into TBqs? We are mxing SI and "standard" units here. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Wachholder0 (talkcontribs) 11:00, 5 August 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The article mixes Greys (a unit of absorbed dose) and Sieverts (a unit of equivalent dose). In the context of a gamma or beta emitter, these units mean the same thing, but most people reading the article won't know that. I think this should be corrected or at least noted somewhere. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:18, 21 September 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]


I'm sorry about my English, so i am not going to change anything in the main text; but i have something interesting about this incident (or accident), maybe someone can change the text:

  • When the accident happened, there was moral panic in all Brazil; the people of Goiânia began to be prejudiced about that;
  • There was found nothing cominated in 2001 but a guava tree, that was cut down [2]
  • Most people who were contaminated didn't know nothing about the accident (some even played with the substance); a lot of kids born after have some health problems (not like Talidomida, but blood, breathing, etc. problems) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:21, 16 July 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The accident was in 1985 not 1987!!  — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:26, 31 January 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply] 

Waste disposal incidents[edit]

I think that the edit to change a cat. to Waste disposal incidents was in part right and in part wrong. I think it was right becuase the accident involved an object which had become waste by virtue of the fact that it was abandoned so it counts as a Waste disposal incident. But it is also about the recycle process as a group of scrap metal workers tried to return the metal into use through their scarp metal yard. I have added a discussion of radioactivity in scrap metal (which I think is best placed in this article) which includes some other examples of related events. Overall I think that the article should stay in both "cats".Cadmium 12:31, 12 August 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Scrap metal contamination[edit]

The information on scrap metal contamination and dose vs. time health hazards looks excellent (especially the charts), but does it really belong in this article? This would seem to apply equally to many other accident entries, especially the metals section. 06:00, 13 September 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I agree. One-third of the article is taken up with diagrams detailing the waste outcomes for radioactive contaminants in a scrap metal furnace, which is irrelevant to this particular incident. Suggest this section is split to its own article, "Accidental furnace contamination with radioactive metals". Cheers Clappingsimon talk 08:29, 13 September 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It was to make that same comment that I came to the Talk page. I think the proposed title from simon, there, is too cumbersome, but I agree with the concept. Mdotley 16:06, 13 September 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I am the person who added the details of how radioactive materials behave if they are added to scrap metal. I think that a page on the subject of radioactivity in the scarp metal trade would be a good idea. I think that as wikipedia gets bigger and more mature that this sort of thing will fork off into its own page. I have just parking the stuff in the best current place, if any of you want to help out then I would be glad to start work on a new page (I have just made it at Radioactive scrap metal).Cadmium 11:20, 17 September 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I am going to be bold and remove from THIS article the information that Cadmium has so graciously provided, and helpfully split off into its own article. Feel free to revert if I have overstepped the consensus. Mdotley 17:30, 18 September 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Dear Mdotley, I have no problem with what you have done. I think that a series of smaller articles is oftein better than one long one (as long as the fragmentation does not make it unreadable).Cadmium —Preceding undated comment added 07:18, 19 September 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Comparision with other related events[edit]

That part of the article mentions related events, including one in Mexico, but gives neither introduction nor link? MadMaxDog 14:36, 13 September 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I think becuase the mexico Co-60 event occured so long ago that no IAEA report can be obtained from their web site on it. I have added three on-line references to the Tammiku (Estonia) event where people broke into a radioactive waste store to steal scrap metal (stupid crime). I think that the Tammiku (Estonia) event is well documented and is a very good example of a sealed source event where the source stayed sealed (no contamination occured), the mexico event is mentioned in many journals and has now become part of the common knowlege of many scientists.Cadmium 11:24, 17 September 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"Popular culture" moved into leaf article[edit]

I'd moved the list of movies, songs, etc into the leaf article Goiânia accident in popular culture. This became common practice (see e.g. Gorilla or Tachyon) to keep the main article better focused (and smaller, in this case). Pavel Vozenilek 21:16, 13 September 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The "popular culture" article is quite small. If it is going to grow much larger, it might be best to keep it separate, but if it doesn't get any longer, paste it back into this article.

Mfgreen 00:20, 7 March 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I agree with Mfgreen. It is very small. The Pt version didn't split and it's still good. Khullah 18:30, 4 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]


I have been bold and reorganized much information. The data on contaminated scrap metal, that Cadmium duplicated in a more specialized article has been removed from this article. Also, the data on cell reaction to fractionated doses of radiation (rather than one long exposure) has been split off into a stub. All the information is still available, but it is not in the way of those who do not want all the technical details.

I think the Categories need to be examined, now. Some of those probably applied mainly to the info that has been split off, and should be removed from this article. Would anyone care to take that on, and then include the "split off" articles in the appropriate categories? Thanks! Mdotley 18:52, 18 September 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I took care of the categories a while back, and now feel that I have done all I can to contribute to this article. I am removing it from my watchlist, but feel free to reach me via my talk page if I can be of assistance. ~ MD Otley (talk) 21:06, 4 January 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Error in comparison table?[edit]

The comparison table states that a smoke detector contains 37 KBq, and the device when stolen contained 50,900,000 KBq. 50,900,000 KBq == 50.9 GBq, not 50.9 TBq as stated in the article text. I believe that the first three rows of the table require an additional three zeros. Agree? --Jered 18:57, 6 March 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Agreed and changed: 1TBq = 10^9 KBq. Dylan Thurston 20:04, 6 March 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Strange data[edit]

Hi I know that this is not the space for this kind of question, but I hope I can clear it before trying any editing. I'm confused about an aspect on the article. Why the Junkyard workers died, if their radiation doses where only 4.5 and 5.3 Gy? Devair Alves Ferreira got 7.0 Gy,and Maria Gabriela Ferreira got 5.7 Gy. None of them died. Thank you larotta 21:28, 8 April 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Please read the article Dose fractionation. The basic idea is that one can survive a higher dose if it's spread out over a longer period of time, b/c one's body has a chance to repair the early damage before the later fractions of the dose. Mdotley 01:20, 6 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
And actually, the wife did die. Mdotley 01:25, 6 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

the animation[edit]

The source's animation seems broken. I see something rotating inside a circle but it looks crappy. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:54, 10 September 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It also needs to be explained better. It shows nothing happening except a thin beam when the inner window matches the outer window. But when they are at opposite positions (blocked with an interior casing) the graphic suggests that the capsule is then emitting massive amounts of radiation in all directions. Either this issue is not explained well or the animation is misleading. I have replaced the graphic with an earlier version. -Rolypolyman (talk) 16:28, 15 September 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Does anyone know why the hospital was abandoned? Drutt (talk) 15:27, 20 September 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • The IAEA report says "It is now known that at about the end of 1985 a private radiotherapy institute, the Institute Goiano de Radioterapia in Goiania, Brazil, moved to new premises, taking with it a cobalt-60 teletherapy unit and leaving m place a caesium-137 tele- therapy unit without notifying the licensing authority as required under the terms of the institute's licence. The former premises were subsequently partly demolished. As a result, the caesium-137 teletherapy unit became totally insecure." --KFP (talk | contribs) 13:35, 28 November 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Health outcomes and names[edit]

The article refers to a Maria Ferreira in several places. Is this the same person as Gabriela Maria Ferreira. If so can that be made clear. This use of middle names as given name may be common in Brazil, but it’s not English standard. Also, who are Leide das Neves Ferreira and Ivo Alves Ferreira? The article says that latter is the father of the former, and then only describes the former as the daughter of the latter. It doesn’t actually tell us anything about who they are. I assume they are relatives of Devair Ferreira. (talk) 04:12, 23 March 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Factual errors in "Legal matters" section[edit]

The section "Legal matters" says that "[...] the three doctors who had owned and run IGR were charged with criminal negligence" and later that "[...] the court could not declare the owners of IGR liable". This is not true (maybe it's confusing the civil charges with the criminal negligence charges?). The truth is that the doctors (and one physicist specialist in medicine) were convicted and sentenced to three years and two months of jail.

I found a few online sources using Google, the best ones seem to be:

Reflections on Liability and Radiological or Nuclear Accidents: The Accidents at Goiania, Forbach, Three Mile Island and Chernobyl, by M-C. Boehler [3] (pages 15-16 of the PDF)

Sentença na ação civil pública no caso do acidente radioativo com césio 137 em Goiânia, by Juliano Taveira Bernardes [4]

Also, the web pages for sources 6 and 7 (referenced in the section Events, subsection Hospital abandonment) don't exist anymore, and I couldn't find any other sources that claim that the owners of IGR warned anyone about the danger of the abandoned equipment. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:15, 23 April 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Iridium windows don't exist?[edit]

I was attempting to find more information about the design and construction of the source holder described in this article, and guess what: when you filter out the search results for Brazil and for Goiânia all you get is web pages that mention iridium window tinting for sunglasses and car windows. There is not a patent anywhere, there is not a book nor academic article describing one, in short outside of this single nuclear incident, "iridium windows" as a device for directing radiation appear to be nonexistent. Really, they just don't exist.

How is this possible? How can something that, in terms of this article, seems like it should be a standard component of a teletherapy device, not exist outside of this one device in Brazil? How can no one have a patent on one? Even in the Wikipedia article on iridium, its only use in conjunction with anything medical is as a source itself of gamma radiation when used for brachytherapy, and not a word anywhere about its use as any kind of "window" for any other radiation source in any other kind of therapy.

I have reviewed in detail the original patent for the international standard source holder used in teletherapy. Here is the source: If you look at the patent drawings, you can see that there is no "iridium window" illustrated or mentioned anywhere; neither does any subsequent patent ever filed in the United States or elsewhere ever mention such a window in conjunction with this device or any radiation therapy device.

What I am saying is, I don't know how this is possible. I challenge anyone to demonstrate otherwise, but as far as I can tell, "iridium windows" simply do not exist, anywhere. Period. That one is still mentioned so many times in the course of a nuclear accident like this one just makes no sense. KDS4444Talk 11:39, 1 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I think that you are correct. I looked through the IAEA document which is cited as describing the "iridium window" and -- as far as I can work out -- there is no such reference. I am removing the "iridium window" in the article and replacing it with "aperture" which I think adequately describes this part of the equipment for the purposes of this article.Jimjamjak (talk) 15:54, 10 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Nice choice, and well done. Someday I'd still like to understand how the concept of an iridium window for a radiation source came to exist, but for now "aperture" will certainly be sufficient description and at least won't be inaccurate. Thank you. KDS4444Talk 10:57, 11 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
My guess is that it was supposed to be irradiation window and someone got confused.Ashcanpete (talk) 23:43, 15 October 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It may actually have been a beryllium window and someone somewhere confused 'iridium' with 'beryllim'. -- (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 05:39, 12 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]


I don't like the way some of the things are worded here, mainly that the article tends to demonize the doctors/owners of the hospital when they were not allowed to remove the radiation source and even went as far as to report it to various agencies and governmental officials. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:08, 7 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I agree with you, why were the doctors charged? The ones that constantly warned them about the radioactive material but they weren't allowed to remove it... — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:56, 7 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

While I think the article makes clear that the doctors did attempt to warn the relevant officials about the dangers of an unmonitored radiation capsule at the facility, it also makes clear that afterwards these same doctors were somehow held accountable for the disaster. That is not a characterization done by Wikipedia, it is a contradictory social & historic fact. We cannot change the fact that these doctors were pointed to as the guilty party, even if that fact seems grossly unfair (which it does, I agree). KDS4444Talk 11:03, 11 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
While I agree we can obviously only report what is covered in RS, was there no major controversy then or recently in Brazil about this? What about by international sources and agencies? Was there at least some better explaination by the court why they were held guilty when it appears they did not want to abandon the device? Was the problem that they initially abandoned the device? As it stands, the article makes the whole thing seem strange and I we aren't missing someing by about the case, it seems unlikely no one else noted the oddity of the case. In fact I thought I noted this before since I've seen this article before and it seemed justas odd then, but may be saw this discussion and didn't bother or something. Nil Einne (talk) 12:54, 2 May 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"On September 13, 1987, the guard in charge of daytime security, Voudireinão da Silva, did not show up to work, using a sick day to attend a cinema screening of Herbie Goes Bananas with his family." - Because of this, 4 people died. (talk) 22:45, 13 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The thieves[edit]

I've been wondering this for a while, and can't find it in the article - what happened to the two thieves who stole the radiotherapy device? Were they ever persecuted for their part in the disaster? Are they even still alive? Thanks! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:18, 16 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thank you for referring to them as thieves, because they were. I think many attempts have been made by a wikipedia contributor or contributors to whitewash the events by calling those ultimately responsible as "scavengers" which then paints them as victims. "Oh, I wasn't stealing your car, I was scavenging it." "Oh, I'm not a murderer, I'm a ghost creator." There was even supposed to be a guard to protect the property from "scavenging." They took things that did not belong to them. That is theft. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:16, 3 November 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I believe the article refers to them as "scavengers" to let the reader know what their occupation was. Had they been guards working for the hospital the article would say "hospital guards" instead. Not to mention that calling them thieves implies that they occupied their time with taking items belonging to other people. Besides, "scavenger" already implies something negative. DukeTwicep (talk) 16:37, 26 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

That's fine and all, but I think the article should have something about the thieves' fate, as I cannot find anything mentioning if they were criminally charged, or died in the hospital, or were let off with a warning, etc. etc. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:31, 24 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

SI units[edit]

Shouldn't the measurements be in sievert(Sv) rather than gray(Gy)? I believe that sieverts is used for radiation absorbed by biological tissue and gray being independent of material. Unless the sources use gray I believe that you only need to replace the instances of Gy and gray with Sv and sieverts when talking about radiation absorbed by people and other animals. DukeTwicep (talk) 16:45, 26 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Sieverts may indeed be the correct current unit of measurement. However, the text of this article draws upon those documents originally published in the 1980's in which the unit used by the authors is grays. If you wanted to see sieverts used in the article, I would highly recommend using the {{convert}} template and including the units in both grays and in sieverts... If that template has a conversion formula for grays and sieverts, of which I am not sure. Again, the reason that grays are used is because that was the unit of measurement given in the original documents. If you think that changing to sieverts is appropriate, please proceed with caution. The original texts did not use this unit. KDS4444Talk 12:11, 18 January 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Blue glow[edit]

The section "The source is partially broken" says: "... it was thought to be either fluorescence or Cherenkov radiation associated with the absorption of moisture by the source," Is that so? Is there a source for this claim? Actually, I am pretty sure by now that it was Cherenkov radiation, but I cannot see why any moisture should be neccessary. All that is required for Cherenkov radiation to appear is a transparent medium with a refractive index >1 passed by highly energetic charged particles, like the beta particles from 137Cs in CsCl. On the case of fluorescence, one would need to explain which material shows the fluorescence. The CsCl itself? The moisture? The air? Best, Naclador (talk) 08:28, 17 October 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

In regards to the blue glow being attributed to Cherenkov radiation, why would the daughter have 'been fascinated by the glow, applying the powder to her body' as soon as the power was removed from the capsule we would no longer have the transparent medium required for Cherenkov radiation to appear it should have only been non-glowing grey dust. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:04, 28 May 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This is wrong. The CsCl itself is the transparent refractive medium, neither moisture nor glass is neccessary. Naclador (talk) 13:29, 5 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Spelling: Caesium vs. Cesium[edit]

This is a rather trivial issue, but I feel that "Cesium" is the more commonly used spelling. Both are correct, but perhaps the article should reflect this?

See WP:CHEMNAME. Kolbasz (talk) 19:08, 19 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Depreciation offensive to the South American people - Sarcasm[edit]

Appears to me unnecessarily and intentionally depreciative and offensive with the Brazilian-allusion to the banana republic nationality - placed at the mention of the "detail" that contributes nothing to the description of the accident except to - you disrespectful jokingly as ignorance of the workers and junk picker at  the South American people made ​​the following reference: "Voudireinão da Silva, did not show up to work, using a sick day to attend the film screening of" Herbie Goes Bananas " with his family — Preceding unsigned comment added by Solon36 (talkcontribs) 19:09, 26 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

If I understand you correctly, you are offended that the article states that the guard who was supposed to be on duty the day of the accident had decided to take the day off and go see a film. I understand your offense. However, the fact is it was the failure of this guard to show up for work that day which allowed in part for the entire incident to unfold. Had he been on duty, the likelihood of the device being stolen would have been greatly reduced. This is why his negligence is mentioned. Yes, this does reflect poorly on some common perceptions of the Latin American work ethic. I agree completely. The title of the film is the one recorded in the official documents. No one on Wikipedia chose this film for him, he chose it himself. The film had been dubbed into Portuguese in 1981, and it doesn't seem at all unlikely that it would have been showing in a local theater in Brazil in the late 1980s. If you are able to identify a different title of the movie he left work to go see, please update this article and include your citation. Thanks! KDS4444Talk 12:30, 18 January 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Someone has once again removed the detail regarding the security guard for the reason of "removing trivia". I do not consider the identify of the security guard or his reason for being away from his post a trivia. However, since the original source link is dead, there is now no way to know whether the details regarding the security guard is truthful or not anymore. (talk) 07:34, 23 November 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

In a wheelbarrow??[edit]

The article contains a claim, "[They] found the teletherapy unit ... and placed it in a wheelbarrow, taking it to Alves's home." In a wheelbarrow? Does anyone have any idea how much these things weigh? Whether the reference given made this claim is unknown as it is now a broken link. The sheer mass of lead that is in the head of any radiotherapy unit means that they weigh several tens of tonnes. This would not only crush your average wheelbarrow, but you would need a fairly substantial piece of handling equipment to get it in the wheelbarrow in the first place. This reference states that "he got some friends to help him haul it into his back yard".[1] It doesn't say how many friends but "haul it into his back yard" doesn't sound like "wheeled it in a wheelbarrow" which would only reqiure one person.

When I worked for a hospital, whenever a new radiotherapy unit was installed, the floor on which it was installed always had to be reinforced to accept the weight. When an old unit was donated to the London Science Museum (presumably with the source removed), the museum decided to remodel the head of the unit as a fibreglass replica otherwise it would have fallen straight through the floor where it was due to be displayed (and the accompanying museum label actually states this). DieSwartzPunkt (talk) 16:34, 29 January 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Are we sure they aren't talking about something more like this? It seems like there might be many sizes these capsules can come in, depending on their application. The article says there was only 93 grams of radioactive material, and the caption on the heading picture says that this one has a 'source' diameter of 30 mm - even if the shielding were several times thicker than this, it doesn't sound like something you'd need a forklift to move. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:17, 9 February 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The capsule's dimensions are given in the 'Description of the Source' section of the article -- "51 millimeters (2 inches) in diameter and 48 mm (1.8 inches) long" — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:24, 9 February 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
They didn't take the entire machine, no. From the IAEA report:

"R.A. had heard rumours that valuable equipment had been left in
1987 the disused clinic of the IGR (Location A). R.A. and a friend, W.P.,
went to the site of the disused clinic and tried to dismantle the tele-
therapy unit with simple tools. R.A. and W.P. finally succeeded in
removing the rotating assembly. The shiny stainless steel casing
appeared valuable to them and they took it in a wheelbarrow to R.A.'s
house (Location B), half a kilometre from the clinic."

Fixed now in the article. Kolbasz (talk) 17:09, 6 March 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Tone issues (May 2015)[edit]

I tagged the article for tone and trimmed some of the trivia/unnecessary details. Wikipedia is no an indiscriminate collection of information and the page looks more like a police report (where all information must kept in case it is needed later) than an encyclopedic summary-style entry; my edits barely scratched the surface. Tigraan (talk) 12:42, 15 May 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Article is boring now. Thanks for helping turn Wikipedia into dry uninteresting shit via rule lawyering Shii (tock) 18:36, 15 May 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
WP:LAWYERing refers to actions that rely on rule technicalities to break the spirit of the encyclopedia.
The spirit is fairly clear though (WP:IINFO, for starters; see also the essay WP:JDL): we do not include what we want to be included (in particular, whether the article is "boring shit" is not a relevant discussion). If you feel one of my edits left out something that a reliable source discussed as interesting, feel free to restore it and discuss it here. Tigraan (talk) 10:18, 18 May 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I believe I wrote the previous comment while blackout drunk Shii (tock) 08:16, 20 May 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Tigraan's edits have removed useful information which should be restored. The title of the movie the guard went to see is indeed trivia and the entry is markedly better off without it, but the unwarranted removal of the information about how the victims first became aware of and reacted to the effects should certainly be restored. The overall tone of the entry could be better, but it's nowhere a level which could justify a tag. It needs a little careful fine-tuning, not butchering. Tannin (talk) 14:12, 14 July 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
As it stands now, the article abruptly jumps from the early radiation exposures to the cleanup and aftermath, and makes little mention of how the problem was gradually discovered, including any misdiagnoses and early attempts to treat the patients before full realization of the nature and extent of the problem. This time interval is key to the entire incident, and its omission makes the article look oddly WP:CENSORED, and deprives the reader of some very important information. The processes of detecting, diagnosing, notifying, and acting are crucial for effective response to any public health emergency, and the article should cover these aspects in depth. Reify-tech (talk) 15:27, 14 July 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
From a second look at my edit, I guess this should be kept, but it does not fully satisfy the legitimate concern raised by Reify-tech. If you have any decent writing skills, go ahead and edit, folks ! Tigraan (talk) 12:18, 15 July 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Addition to legacy section[edit]

This incident (or a similar one) seems to have inspired an episode of the cartoon 'Captain Planet' [[5]]. Googling gives me this result. [[6]]. What kind of references are required before making an addition to the article? Cplusplusboy (talk) 13:32, 17 August 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

A reliable source is needed, in this case ideally someone affiliated with the production of the episode. Apologies if I'm stating the obvious here, but wikis and blogs generally would not qualify. DonIago (talk) 14:07, 17 August 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

External links modified[edit]

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Article critique[edit]

This article is supported well by a variety of sources. Although sources like the Washington Post may have a left-leaning bias, the government sources add credibility to the article. As for the content of the article, it appears to stick to the facts and have a neutral bias overall, although some sections could use some more elaboration. XXESPM163Xx (talk) 06:01, 1 February 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

External links modified[edit]

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Legal matters[edit]

The liability is not clear to me. If I read it correctly, the IGR was restrained by the court from removing anything from the clinic, yet they were charged with criminal negligence in the matter? How can that be?MartinezMD (talk) 17:44, 18 November 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]

fact checking: "several hundred houses were demolished"[edit]

coming from the German article (plus quick googling) only seven houses were demolished - although a lot more underwent refurbishing / scraping of walls + repainting. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Dwayne Felixondo (talkcontribs) 11:44, 26 May 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]


> While the serial number of the device was unknown, thus hindering definitive identification, the device was thought to have been made in the U.S. at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and was used as a radiation source for radiation therapy at the Goiânia hospital.[1]

This is a bit confusing, as it implies that "the device" (presumably the radiological unit) was manufactured in the U.S.A., however, according to the cited source, it seems that the unit was "designed by Barazetti and Company of Milan, Italy" and "marketed by Generay SpA." This suggests that it was also likely manufactured in Italy (though the document is unclear, as it only says "designed," which can mean different things).

The same article does confirm, however, that the radioactive source (not the rest of the unit) "is thought to have been produced at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) facility in the United States of America in about 1970."

So, to say that "the device" was manufactured at Oak Ridge seems confusing and mostly misleading. Given the IAEA document, I think it is reasonable to say that the teletherapy unit was designed by Barazetti and Company of Milan, Italy, with the source thought to have been made in the U.S. at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. –Hypertext (talk) 04:01, 20 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]


I've edited the article introduction to reflect the subsequent reference to "the theft" because there was no reference to it having been stolen, just "taken". Matuko (talk)2


Hi. Although only 4 deaths were reported to be directly related to the source & it's contamination of the immediate area & individuals there is no doubt other deaths were somewhat indirectly attributable to the source, albeit difficult to determine. I was thinking would it be prudent to clarify, by way of bracketed text, to show the 4 deaths as "(direct)"? Thanks for your consideration. Regards, Michael (talk) 17:16, 4 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This seems reasonable, perhaps in a similar manner to how it's handled at Chernobyl disaster? DonIago (talk) 15:08, 5 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]


The article systematically uses negative exponents like "Sv·h−1" instead of simply "Sv/h". Is there a reason why? (talk) 03:14, 3 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This article contradicts itself(Note, relates to section flagged for needing citation)[edit]

In the initial section it's stated "All of the objects from within those houses, including personal possessions, were seized and incinerated" while under cleanup it's stated that care was put in to recover personal possessions in those particular houses. Along with not citing anything overall in how the situation was handled under cleanup. (talk) 16:37, 28 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]