Documents

The Day We Lost the H-BombA selection of letters, logs and reports about the Palomares accident

Madrid 869 Cable / January 21, 1966 Sanitized version (pdf 1.5 MB)   Desanitized version (pdf 1.8 MB)
Ambassador Duke, in this cable to the Secretary of State, mentions the Spanish government’s concerns about USAF refueling operations. The LBJ Library sent me one copy, and later released a less redacted version. I have included both here.
Source: LBJ Library, National Security File, Country File, “Spain, 1/17/66, TS/RD B-52/KC-135 Accident,” Box 204Madrid 871 Cable / January 22, 1966 Sanitized version (pdf 3.1 MB)   Desanitized version (pdf 2.8 MB) 
Ambassador Duke sent this cable to the Secretary of State after UPI had broken the Palomares story. The LBJ Library sent me one copy, and later released a less redacted version. I have included both here. It’s interesting that the details of the Sagaz meeting were originally redacted with no explanation given.
Source: LBJ Library, National Security File, Country File, “Spain, 1/17/66, TS/RD B-52/KC-135 Accident,” Box 204

SAC Historical Study 109, condition of weapon #2 / April 1968 (pdf 1 MB)
This document, more than 500 pages long without the appendices, details the accident, search and cleanup. This two-page excerpt describes the condition of bomb number two after the accident.
Source: USAF FOIA

Deck Log of the USS Petrel / April 7, 1966 (pdf 1.1 MB)
This is a page from the deck logs of the USS Petrel, on the day that bomb #4 was brought aboard. The weapon was on deck at 0846.
Source: National Archives and Records Administration, College Park

Proceedings of the Plutonium Deposition Registry Board / October 26-28, 1966 (pdf 1.3 MB)
During this meeting, held nine months after the accident, scientists review data collected in Palomares and discuss plans for future monitoring.
Source: National Nuclear Security Administration FOIA

Palomares Site Review Memo / September 23, 1998 (pdf 700 kb)
In this memo, several scientists discuss the state of plutonium monitoring in Palomares. The document is interesting because on page 1, Iranzo and Richmond are discussing “pits” and plutonium left in the area.
Source: US Department of Energy, via José Herrera Plaza

2002 Indalo Progress Report / undated (pdf 450 kb)
For those wanting more scientific details on the Palomares monitoring operation, this document supplies data on soil, air and urine sampling. These detailed progress reports are released sporadically.
Source: José Herrera Plaza