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

Getty Images
January 30, 2015 | NPR · In 2010, sportswriter Clay Travis said in a tweet, “There is a 100% chance that DeMarcus Cousins is arrested for something in the next five years.”
 

YouTube
January 30, 2015 | NPR · Derek Klingenberg in Kansas flew a drone equipped with a camera over his farm. Then he dropped feed in strategic places for a happy result.
 

AP
January 30, 2015 | NPR · The secretary of state was in Saudi Arabia when the massive snowstorm struck the Northeast this week. His spokesman said he would pay the fine.
 

Arts & Life

Courtesy of Cohen Media Group
January 30, 2015 | NPR · The movie, one of five Academy Award nominees for best foreign language film this year, is about radical Islamists occupying the city in Mali. Remarkably, it’s often on the verge of being a comedy.
 

 NPR
January 30, 2015 | NPR · Both the sublime and the ridiculous get thorough airings this week as the team takes on the fine CW show Jane The Virgin and the bonkers sex thriller The Boy Next Door.
 

UPI /Landov
January 30, 2015 | NPR · Rod McKuen is credited with more than 200 albums and more than 30 collections of poetry. He died on Thursday after a lengthy illness.
 

Music

Mountain Stage
January 30, 2015 | NPR · One of Canada’s most respected roots-music singer-songwriters performs live in West Virginia.
 

January 30, 2015 | NPR · This week, our recurring puzzler for careful listeners features a selection of fills handpicked by All Songs Considered co-host Robin Hilton. Hear the fill and match it to the song.
 

Courtesy of the artist
January 30, 2015 | NPR · In a session from 1994, the Panamanian pianist plays tunes from Monk and Rollins, as well as his own composition, “Reminisce.”
 

Get the KRCC iPhone App

The Writer's Almanac

Radiolab