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Radioactive Autopsy - The Cecil Kelley Criticality Accident

Kyle Hill2021-02-12
because science#engineering#kyle hill#learning#math#physics#science#stem#the facility#los alamos#manhattan project#plutonium#plutonium injection experiments#body snatchers#cecil kelley#accident#criticality accident#criticality experiment#criticality accident blue light#nuclear#nuclear disaster#nuclear history#demon core
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💫 Short Summary

The video discusses the true story of the 'body snatchers of Los Alamos,' in which workers at the Los Alamos National Laboratory were unknowingly exposed to plutonium during semi-secret experiments. The accidental criticality involving a chemical operator named Cecil Kelly resulted in him being bathed in gamma rays, leading to severe and radioactive burns, but he surprisingly survived the incident. The video discusses the story of Cecil Kelley, a worker at Los Alamos National Laboratory who was accidentally exposed to a high dose of plutonium in 1958, leading to his death. It also delves into the unethical human plutonium injection experiments conducted by Manhattan Project doctors and the subsequent autopsy performed on Kelley's radioactive body, which yielded unexpected findings about plutonium biokinetics in humans. The video discusses the case of Cecil Kelley, a Los Alamos employee who was unknowingly injected with plutonium as part of human radiation experiments. Investigative journalist Eileen Welsom exposed the experiments, leading to a government committee and a class-action lawsuit against Los Alamos. Ultimately, affected families were awarded a $9.5 million settlement, but the pathologist involved never admitted wrongdoing. The video highlights the lack of ethics and accountability in these human radiation experiments.

✨ Highlights
📊 Transcript
Introduction to the True Story of the Body Snatchers of Los Alamos
00:00
Dr. Clarence Lushbaugh began an autopsy on Cecil Kelly, a 38-year-old chemical operator at the Los Alamos National Laboratory.
Workers at the facility were tasked with recovering plutonium from experiments.
An unexpected amount of plutonium-rich solids in a vessel caused a critical situation, resulting in a burst of high-energy radiation that severely affected Cecil Kelly.
Control and Impact of Criticality in Nuclear Materials
02:06
Nuclear weapons and power seek to control criticality to produce energy or explosions.
Criticality by accident can be deadly, with high-energy radiation causing immediate harm.
Changes in the mass and shape of radioactive material can make it go critical, leading to a self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction.
Accidental Criticality Incident at Los Alamos
03:57
Cecil Kelly was exposed to a criticality incident at the Los Alamos facility due to an unexpected amount of plutonium in the chemical solution.
The unplanned configuration in the vessel led to a brief but intense critical situation with 150,000 trillion unique fission reactions.
Cecil Kelly experienced the direct impact of the energy release, causing burns and high-energy gamma rays to pass through his body.
Immediate Effects on Cecil Kelly After Exposure
05:42
Cecil Kelly exhibited disorientation, confusion, and physical symptoms like twitching and uncoordinated muscles.
He was found burning up in the snow, which was a dermatological reaction to the high-energy gamma rays.
Cecil's skin appeared pink, he was in shock and unconscious, and his bodily fluids were found to be radioactive.
Despite the severity of the exposure, Cecil Kelly's condition improved slightly after one hour and 40 minutes.
Aftermath of Cecil Kelly's Exposure
07:12
Cecil Kelly was coherent but in tremendous pain in his chest and abdomen.
His blood was found to be radioactive, with light metals like sodium transformed by radiation.
Kelly reported seeing a heavenly blue glow and hearing rumbling in the room.
He was eventually moved to a private room for further observation.
Cecil Kelley received a high dose of radiation during an accident, leading to his imminent death.
00:07
Cecil Kelley received an estimated 49 grays of radiation, much higher than the 5 grays fatality rate.
His white blood cells were completely gone six hours after the accident.
Doctors considered a bone marrow transplant, but it was clear that it wouldn't help due to the size of the radiation dose.
Scientists at Los Alamos conducted plutonium injection experiments to understand the effects of radioactive elements on the human body.
00:10
From 1945 to 1947, 18 people were unknowingly injected with plutonium during medical procedures.
Results showed that plutonium preferred to stay in the skeleton and also accumulated in the liver, kidneys, and spleen.
The biokinetics of plutonium in the body were not well understood, leading to the need for human tissue samples.
Cecil Kelley's death and autopsy led to new revelations about how plutonium moves in the human body.
00:13
Cecil Kelley died 10 hours after his bone marrow was sampled.
His body was still radioactive after death.
Dr. Clarence Lushbaugh performed an autopsy on Cecil's radioactive corpse without permission, removing samples for study.
Results showed less deposition of plutonium in the skeleton, more in the liver, lungs, and lymph nodes, and it stayed in the body longer than expected.
This data from Kelley's incidental plutonium exposure could shape industry safety measures.
The Los Alamos Human Tissue Analysis Program was established to collect samples from staff and the general public.
Cecil Kelly, a worker at Los Alamos, became a scapegoat for a nuclear accident
00:16
In 1974, the U.S Atomic Energy Commission attributed an accident to the errors of the deceased operator, Cecil Kelly.
The laboratory director at Los Alamos, Norris Bradbury, disagreed and said no single cause was identifiable.
Cecil Kelly received documents 20 years later detailing what happened to him, including the fact that tissue samples were taken without permission.
Investigations revealed a human tissue analysis program and plutonium injection experiments at Los Alamos
00:17
Clarence Lushbaugh made it standard practice to take tissue samples from everyone he performed an autopsy on, without their permission.
Tissue samples from 1520 people, including non-Los Alamos workers, were sampled for plutonium.
Documents revealed experiments on radioactive animal carcasses at Los Alamos.
Journalist Eileen Wilson's reports led to pressure on Los Alamos and the establishment of the Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments.
Legal and public pressure led to the revelation and settlement of the human experiments at Los Alamos
00:19
The government committee and Los Alamos released over 1600 documents to the public.
Families affected by the experiments initiated a class-action lawsuit, resulting in a 9.5 million dollar settlement in 2001.
Pathologist Clarence Lushbaugh, who took and distributed Cecil Kelly's tissue, never admitted wrongdoing.
The book 'The Plutonium Files' by Eileen Wilson provides more in-depth information about the human plutonium injection experiments.
💫 FAQs about This YouTube Video

1. What were the circumstances of the plutonium accident at the Los Alamos National Laboratory?

The plutonium accident at the Los Alamos National Laboratory occurred when a chemical operator, Cecil Kelly, was exposed to a critical amount of plutonium during an unexpected chemical reaction, resulting in a dangerous level of radioactive exposure.

2. How did the accident at the Los Alamos National Laboratory affect Cecil Kelly?

The accident at the Los Alamos National Laboratory caused Cecil Kelly to suffer from a dangerous level of radioactive exposure, leading to severe physical effects such as burns, radiation sickness, and the contamination of his body with radioactive materials.

3. What were the consequences of the plutonium accident at the Los Alamos National Laboratory?

The consequences of the plutonium accident at the Los Alamos National Laboratory included the severe health effects on Cecil Kelly, the contamination of his body with radioactive materials, and the need for extensive medical attention to treat the radiation sickness and injuries resulting from the exposure.

4. How did the accident at the Los Alamos National Laboratory demonstrate the dangers of working with plutonium?

The accident at the Los Alamos National Laboratory served as a stark demonstration of the dangers of working with plutonium, highlighting the potential for severe health effects, radiation sickness, and the contamination of the body with radioactive materials in the event of a critical exposure to plutonium.

5. What measures were taken to treat Cecil Kelly after the plutonium accident at the Los Alamos National Laboratory?

After the plutonium accident at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, Cecil Kelly received extensive medical attention to treat the radiation sickness and injuries resulting from the exposure. Measures were taken to address the severe health effects and to decontaminate his body from the radioactive materials.

6. What were the effects of the radiation exposure on Cecil Kelley during the criticality accident?

Cecil Kelley experienced a fatal dose of radiation during a criticality accident, leading to his death within 10 hours. The video discusses the details of his suffering and the medical procedures that followed.

7. How did the medical professionals at Los Alamos handle the aftermath of Cecil Kelley's radiation exposure?

The medical professionals at Los Alamos grappled with the challenges of treating Cecil Kelley after his radiation exposure during the criticality accident. The video provides insights into the medical care and the decision-making process during this tragic event.

8. What did the autopsy of Cecil Kelley reveal about the effects of plutonium on the human body?

The autopsy of Cecil Kelley provided valuable insights into the effects of plutonium on the human body, challenging existing knowledge. It led to the creation of the Los Alamos Human Tissue Analysis Program and influenced industry safety protocols.

9. How did Cecil Kelley's radiation exposure contribute to the understanding of plutonium's effects on the human body?

Cecil Kelley's radiation exposure and the subsequent autopsy significantly contributed to the understanding of plutonium's effects on the human body. The findings led to the development of industry safety protocols and the establishment of the Los Alamos Human Tissue Analysis Program.

10. What were the findings of the investigation into the death of Cecil Kelley at Los Alamos?

The investigation revealed the truth about the fate of Cecil Kelley, the tissue analysis program, and the plutonium injection experiments conducted on unknowing human patients at Los Alamos.

11. How did Eileen Wilson's investigative journalism contribute to the uncovering of the human radiation experiments at Los Alamos?

Eileen Wilson's investigative journalism led to the uncovering of the human radiation experiments at Los Alamos, bringing the truth about the plutonium injection experiments and the tissue analysis program to light.

12. What was the outcome of the class-action lawsuit initiated by the families affected by the 'body snatchers of Los Alamos'?

The families affected by the 'body snatchers of Los Alamos' initiated a class-action lawsuit and were awarded a $9.5 million settlement from the Los Alamos Medical Center and the University of California.

13. How did the investigation into the human radiation experiments at Los Alamos affect the credibility and integrity of the laboratory?

The investigation into the human radiation experiments at Los Alamos put the laboratory's credibility and integrity into question, leading to the establishment of the Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments by President Bill Clinton.

14. Who was responsible for the uncovering of the human radiation experiments at Los Alamos?

Eileen Wilson's investigative journalism and the collaboration of the government's committee and Los Alamos scientists were responsible for uncovering the human radiation experiments at Los Alamos.