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 radioactive 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, Centro de Investigaciones Energéticas, Medioambientales y Tecnológicas (CIEMAT) detected higher levels of plutonium, uranium and americium than average over 10 hectares (24 acres) of Palomares.
Annual monitoring by the United States and Spain has 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. On 19 October 2015, Spain and the United States signed an agreement to discuss further cleanup of the site. Eventually, the United States intends to take more contaminated soil from Palomares to an appropriate site in the United States.
- "Spain, U.S. Agree to Radioactivity Cleanup 40 Years After Atomic Accident." Fox News, 8 October 2006. Retrieved: 23 September 2007.
- "Spain, US sign new accord to study further cleanup work after 1966 nuclear accident". US News. AP. 19 October 2015. Retrieved 19 October 2015.
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