With the nuclear crisis in Fukushima on everyone’s mind, we remember a fire at the Rocky Flats nuclear weapons production facility just outside of Denver in 1969 that stands as one of the most horrifying near-misses in our history. As this excellent interative online gallery from the University of Colorado, recounts, enough material to build 1,000 nuclear bombs was nearly ignited after an oil rag in a glove box with plutonium shavings caught fire creating the costliest industrial accident in US history and a sobering reminder of the persistent dangers of atomic energy.

For a broad-stroke look at the entire history of Rocky Flats, the High Country News video below also serves as a good primer.

 

5 Responses to Remembering The 1969 Rocky Flats Fire

  1. drew says:

    Persistent dangers of atomic energy?

    Atomic weaponry, I think you mean. As if those weren’t self-evident enough.

  2. Noel Black says:

    I believe atomic energy is also responsible for atomic weaponry. Correct me if I’m wrong.

  3. Mary Ellen says:

    I appreciate this. Thanks.

  4. Sarah says:

    A calamity at a nuclear weapons factory would probably make a much bigger hole in ground than one producing electricity, I’m guessing? This story was very alarming!

  5. Jeff Nice says:

    alarming might not cover all the bases about this story.

News

AP
June 25, 2016 | NPR · Six European Union foreign ministers at a crisis meeting in Berlin say they want to avoid a period of uncertainty, a day after referendum results showed that Britain has voted to leave the EU.
 

June 25, 2016 | NPR · NPR’s Tom Goldman tells NPR’s Scott Simon what the Brexit vote might mean for the world of professional soccer.
 

June 25, 2016 | NPR · There are times that the power of the mind is not enough. About 40 people who walked on hot coals at a Tony Robbins seminar in Dallas ended up with burns, with several landing in the hospital.
 

Arts & Life

HBO
June 25, 2016 | FA · Hale talks about playing “anxious characters” on Arrested Development and Veep. Sarah Hepola had to rethink her sex life after she quit drinking. Jonathan Balcombe discusses the inner lives of fish.
 

June 25, 2016 | NPR · It was once thought that evil resided inside the body. So murderers were dissected to find it. That macabre practice is the subject of a dark but funny new opera, “Anatomy Theatre.”
 

June 25, 2016 | NPR · Yoon Ha Lee’s new novel is hard to sum up — in an alien world so dissimilar to ours its technology seems like magic, reality is a consensus that requires intense, rigid belief to function.
 

Music

Courtesy of the artist
June 25, 2016 | NPR · You might remember the hair band Winger and its MTV hit “Seventeen.” The band’s namesake, bassist Kip Winger, has another side: classical composer.
 

June 25, 2016 | NPR · “French Fries and Champagne” is The Hot Sardines’ new album. Singer Elizabeth Bougerol and band leader Evan Palazzo tell NPR’s Scott Simon Craigslist helped them turn their hobby into a music career.
 

AFP/Getty Images
June 24, 2016 | WXPN · The genre-defining singer joined World Cafe in 2002 for a career-spanning conversation.
 

Get the KRCC iPhone App

The Writer's Almanac

Radiolab