Palomares is an agricultural, fishing and tourist village on the Mediterranean Sea in the Almería province of Andalucia, Spain. It is about 20 metres (66 feet) above sea level. The village falls within the municipality of Cuevas del Almanzora.
The ruins of El Artial lie just outside the village.
1966 B-52 crash
The town is noted for an incident in 1966 where a B-52 Stratofortress of Strategic Air Command crashed, causing radiation contamination after its payload of nuclear bombs was ruptured. There were four thermonuclear bombs in the plane. The high-explosive igniters on two bombs detonated on impact, spreading radioactive material, including plutonium, over a wide area of the Spanish countryside. A third bomb landed relatively intact and was recovered. The fourth bomb landed in the Mediterranean Sea, and U.S. military searchers took months to find and recover the device intact. In 2001 CIEMAT detected higher levels of plutonium, uranium and americium than average over 24 acres (10 ha) of Palomares.
Annual monitoring by the US and Spain have found no evidence of health problems or contaminated food or water from the crash. Nevertheless, some areas remain contaminated and cannot be disturbed; although they are safely fenced off, the result is that the town is blighted, and has missed out on developments like those in most other coastal towns. As of 2012[update], Spain is asking the United States to finish cleaning up the area.
- "Spain, U.S. Agree to Radioactivity Cleanup 40 Years After Atomic Accident." Fox News, 8 October 2006. Retrieved: 23 September 2007.
- Hadden, Gerry (22 October 2012). "Palomares bombs: Spain waits for US to finish nuclear clean-up". BBC. Retrieved 22 October 2012.
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