Rocky Flats: From Cold War to Hot Property

Number 16763
Subject Pollution
Source Westword (Denver)
State CO
Year 2000
Publication Date July 20-26; July 27- Aug. 2; Aug. 3-9; and Sept. 28 - Oct. 4
Summary Westword examines what has happened to Rocky Flats after the Atomic Energy Commission built a nuclear-weapons plant near the Denver area in the 1950s. The disposal of more than 1,500 kinds of chemicals and radioactive plutonium. Dow Chemical undertook only the slightest precautions in getting rid of the waste. It attempted solar evaporation ponds and mixing the toxic, often radioactive sludge with cement that never hardened. Over the years, materials left unprotected outside in second-hand barrels and other careless containers seeped into the prairies and groundwater. In 1974, Rockwell International took over and continued the pollution. In 1989, the plant was raided by the FBI and Colorado's first ever grand jury convened. Indictments and a $18.5 million fine were levied at Rockwell, the contractor and DOE employees. Today, an ambitious goal of cleaning up the land by 2006 is set but few have faith that the environmental damage sustained at Rocky Flats can be undone.
Category General
Pages 22
Keywords Bombs;contamination;uranium;plutonium;beryllium;Atomic Energy Commission;Dept. of Energy;Rockwell;Dow Chemical;Nuclear;groundwater;pollution
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