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
April 18, 2014 | NPR · The death toll surpasses what had been the single deadliest day on the world’s tallest mountain. Officials say all of those killed were Sherpa guides.
 

Reuters/Landov
April 18, 2014 | NPR · More than three days after the ferry capsized, nearly 270 of those who were on board remained missing. Most of them are high school students. Cranes will try to lift the ship, which is now submerged.
 

AFP/Getty Images
April 18, 2014 | NPR · As the president prepares to travel to Asia, the White House says a trade deal would boost U.S. exports. But opponents say the Trans-Pacific Partnership would hurt the environment and U.S. jobs.
 

Arts & Life

AFP/Getty Images
April 18, 2014 | NPR · Also: Exiled Romanian poet Nina Cassian has died; the real title of Hillary Clinton’s forthcoming memoir; Gary Shteyngart retires from book blurbing.
 

Courtesy of Joan Chase
April 18, 2014 | NPR · Joan Chase’s 1983 debut During the Reign of the Queen of Persia is a careful, layered account of a troubled family in rural 1950s Ohio, narrated by a quasi-Greek chorus of daughters and cousins.
 

April 18, 2014 | NPR · In her memoir, A Fighting Chance, Warren reveals a childhood brush with bankruptcy and reflects on hard-won political lessons.
 

Music

Redferns
April 18, 2014 | NPR · Can you identify a song when it’s stripped down to a just few seconds of isolated drum pounding? This week’s puzzler comes courtesy drummer Sean Carey, otherwise known as S. Carey.
 

April 17, 2014 | NPR · Aimee Mann and Ted Leo began performing together in 2012, when Leo was Mann’s opening act. Mann began joining Leo onstage during his set. Their debut album is “The Both.”
 

Courtesy of Republic Records
April 17, 2014 | NPR · The Secret Sisters’ new album, Put Your Needle Down, displays their sophisticated, timeless sound and the country-twang influences of their hometown, Muscle Shoals, Ala.
 

Get the KRCC iPhone App

The Writer's Almanac

Radiolab