Spain’s nuclear legacy - On a sunny morning in 1966 two US Air Force planes collided and dropped four nuclear bombs
The US government calls nukes that go astray “Broken Arrows” and on 17 January 1966, Palomares got four of them.
Overhead, at 31,000ft, an American B-52G bomber collided with a KC-135 tanker plane during routine air-to-air refuelling and broke apart. Three of the bomber’s H-bombs landed in or around Palomares, the fourth landed about five miles offshore in the Mediterranean.
Actually, just how much plutonium is still out there is hard to determine, because the US has never said how much the bombs were carrying to begin with. But Spanish investigator Carlos Sancho estimates that between 15 and 25 pounds (7 and 11kg) of the material ended up in the soil. Sancho, who runs the Palomares section of the Spanish Department of Energy, insists it does not pose health risks.