This project was completed in August 1998 and resulted in the book Atomic Audit: The Costs and Consequences of U.S. Nuclear Weapons Since 1940, edited by Stephen I. Schwartz. These project pages are only occasionally updated and should be considered hisorical.


Eighty days after if fell into the ocean following the January 1966 midair collision between a nuclear-armed B-52G bomber and a KC-135 refueling tanker over Palomares, Spain, this B28RI nuclear bomb was recovered from 2,850 feet (869 meters) of water and lifted aboard the USS Petrel (note the missing tail fins and badly dented "false nose").


This photograph was among the first ever published of a U.S. hydrogen bomb. Left to right are Sr. Don Antonio Velilla Manteca, chief of the Spanish Nuclear Energy Board in Palomares; Brigadier General Arturo Montel Touzet, Spanish coordinator for the search and recovery operation; Rear Admiral William S. Guest, commander of U.S. Navy Task Force 65; and Major General Delmar E. Wilson, commander of the Sixteenth Air Force. The B28 had a maximum yield of 1.45 megatons.





As a result of the accident, an estimated 1,400 tons of radioactive soil and vegetation was excavated, packed in 55-gallon drums, and sent to the United States for disposal at the Savannah River Plant in South Carolina. Here, the barrels are being loaded and prepared for shipment.

Credit: U.S. Navy (top, courtesy of the Natural Resources Defense Council), U.S. Strategic Command (bottom)