Friday, October 13, 2006

Radioactive snails are coming, first Spain than rest of the world

Discovery of radioactive snails at a site in southeastern Spain where three U.S. hydrogen bombs fell by accident 40 years ago may trigger a new joint U.S.-Spanish clean-up operation, officials said Wednesday.

Hydrogen bombs fell near the fishing village of Palomares in 1966 after a mid-air collision between a bomber and a refueling craft, in which seven of 11 crewmen died.

Hundreds of tons of soil were removed from the Palomares area and shipped to the United States after high explosive igniters on two bombs detonated on impact, spreading plutonium dust-bearing clouds across nearby fields.

Spanish authorities say the appearance of higher than normal levels of radiation in snails and other creatures shows there may be dangerous levels of plutonium and uranium below ground, and a further clean up could be necessary.

"We have to study the dirt, we have to look underground," said Juan Antonio Rubio, director general of Spain's energy research agency CIEMAT, which is carrying out an investigation with the U.S. Department of Energy.
"We don't know what's down there."

U.S. and Spain have agreed to share the cost of the initial investigation, which is set to begin in November.

Governments have yet to agree on who would pay for a clean up, according to a U.S. embassy spokesman in Spain.

Spain's government has bought a 10-hectare (25 acre) area near Palomares where the bombs fell.

Since 1966, the United States has helped pay for Palomares residents to be checked for signs of radiation poisoning. Spain says there is today no danger from surface radiation.

But it still advises local children not to work in fields at the explosion site, nor eat their snails -- which are a local delicacy.


At 13 October, 2006 06:36 , Anonymous GrreginOz said...

Heh wonders if Ann Coulter and Michelle Malkin leave radioactive snail trails!

At 13 October, 2006 10:01 , Blogger even-star said...

in other news: The US dropped hydrogen bombs on Spain? Holy Jebus they kept that quiet!

end of line

At 13 October, 2006 15:44 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Evenstar, kept it quiet? I've seen a show on the History Channel about this a couple times. A bomber hit a refueling jet. The movie with Cuba Gooding Jr. retreiving a bomb off the ocean floor was the same incident. how is that quiet?

At 13 October, 2006 16:10 , Blogger carney said...

We sure as hell didnt learn about that one in school...

At 13 October, 2006 16:33 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Helps if you have a sense of humor!


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