Spain Urges US to Take Land Where 4 Hydrogen Bombs Dropped by B-52 Plane
Spain has urged the US to take over the land where 4 hydrogen bombs were dropped by a B-52 nearly 60 years ago. Photo/Bettmann/Bettmann Archive
MADRID – Nearly 60 years ago, a US B-52 bomber dropped four hydrogen bombs over southeastern Spain after a collision with an American military tanker.
Now, Madrid has asked Washington to transport tens of thousands of cubic meters of soil contaminated with nuclear weapons to America for safekeeping.
Sources at Spain’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed on Monday that they had formally asked the US to take action to de-radioactive soil.
The request is in line with a non-binding agreement reached between the two countries in 2015 and which includes a US commitment to regulate the proper disposal of contaminated soil in the United States.
Since the US has yet to respond officially, the source declined to provide further details.
El País, the Spanish newspaper which first reported the story, said the request had been made months ago. The US government did not respond to requests for comment.
The lawsuit is the latest chapter in a saga that can be traced back to January 1966 when a nuclear-weapon US B-52 bomber collided with a tanker during an aerial refueling operation off the coast of Almeria, Spain. Seven of the 11 crew members died.
Four hydrogen bombs fell from the B-52; one was later found intact in the Mediterranean while the other three crashed on land near the coastal village of Palomares.
Although the bombs did not detonate, two plutonium-filled detonators exploded, scattering 7 pounds of radioactive plutonium-239 over the landscape.