Nuclear Explosion in Rhode Island Village Shakes Quiet Community: The Untold Story of Wood River Junction

Wood River Junction, Rhode Island, a peaceful village known for its serenity, was the site of a significant event that occurred six decades ago. One of the main attractions in the area is a sizeable turf farm, along with several hiking trails for outdoor enthusiasts to explore.

Back in 1961, the United Nuclear Corporation opened a multi-million-dollar facility in Rhode Island, marking the state’s first entrance into the atomic industry. The company, a major provider of nuclear fuels, offered promising job opportunities and economic growth for the state.

Tragedy struck in 1964 when a nuclear accident occurred at the United Nuclear Corporation facility in Wood River Junction. Robert Peabody, a dedicated employee and father of nine, was exposed to a highly radioactive solution, leading to a fatal outcome. The incident was described as a “criticality accident” by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Following the accident, the facility underwent a thorough cleanup, and the plant eventually resumed operations after addressing safety concerns. Despite the reopening, the plant ceased operations in 1981 due to financial reasons.

Today, the area where the United Nuclear Corporation facility once stood has been transformed into the Francis C. Carter Nature Preserve, a popular destination for nature lovers. The legacy of the tragic event lives on in the history of Wood River Junction, serving as a reminder of the dangers associated with nuclear technology.

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