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

August 30, 2015 | NPR · The rumors ranged from a man leaping to his death in Beijing over stock losses to highly inflated death tolls in the Tianjin industrial blasts.
 

AFP/Getty Images
August 30, 2015 | NPR · Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley announced he’s backing the Iran deal despite “significant shortcomings.” It brings Obama within three votes of sustaining a veto against congressional disapproval.
 

AP
August 30, 2015 | NPR · Hillary Clinton tried to rally important Democratic delegates to her side at the party’s summer meeting in Minneapolis. But, as she looks increasingly vulnerable, rivals are pressing their own cases.
 

Arts & Life

NPR
August 30, 2015 | NPR · The teen heroine of Nicola Yoon’s debut novel, Everything, Everything, has a disorder that bars her from leaving her house. Still, her world is vast, filled with writings, drawings — and new love.
 

Patty Wagstaff Airshows, Inc.
August 30, 2015 | NPR · Award-winning aviator Patty Wagstaff tackles the extreme, but she was inspired by a simple takeoff gone wrong. Crawling out of the plane, she looked at her pilot and thought, “I can do a lot better.”
 

iStockphoto
August 30, 2015 | NPR · We’ve spent two weeks looking at the state of television, and now it’s time to ask some questions about where it’s going from here.
 

Music

Courtesy of the artist
August 30, 2015 | NPR · “We wanted to be a part of the healing process of the city and of the people,” Bridgewater says. Her new album, Dee Dee’s Feathers, mines the rich history of New Orleans music.
 

Courtesy of the artist
August 30, 2015 | NPR · Danish musician Amalie Bruun grew up playing classical piano and violin — but her passion is black metal. She discusses her debut album, M, parts of which were made in a real mausoleum.
 

Courtesy of the artist
August 29, 2015 | NPR · Along with his band The Night Sweats, Rateliff is the voice behind “S.O.B.” — a new song with an old sound that’s catching a lot of people off guard.
 

Get the KRCC iPhone App

The Writer's Almanac

Radiolab