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Wednesday
Jul162014

Church Rock: the forgotten nuclear disaster 35 years ago

35 years ago on July 16, likely the worst and certainly most forgotten U.S. nuclear accident happened.

On July 16, 1979, just 14 weeks after the Three Mile Island reactor accident, and just 34 years to the day after the Trinity atomic test, the small community of Church Rock, New Mexico, became the scene of another nuclear tragedy.

Ninety million gallons of liquid radioactive waste, and eleven hundred tons of solid mill wastes, burst through a broken dam wall at the Church Rock uranium mill facility, creating a flood of deadly effluents that permanently contaminated the Rio Puerco river. For more on the disaster at Church Rock and the implications today, read Linda Gunter's 2009 Blog on the Daily Kos, "The best-kept nuclear secret." For more details, see also Killing our Own and Southwest Research and Information Center.