Candelas is the only community to share property lines with the former Rocky Flats Nuclear Weapons Plant.
From 1952 to 1992 the Rocky Flats Plant was a United States nuclear weapons production facility.
When the plant closed 2,600 pounds of plutonium was unaccounted for.
On September 11, 1957, a massive plutonium fire occurred and almost caused the evacuation of all of Denver.
The accident released plutonium into the surrounding environment, causing irreparable damage.
In 1959, barrels of radioactive waste were found to be leaking into an open field.
This was not made publicly known until 1970 when wind-borne particles were detected in Denver.
From 1967 to 1970 Dow Chemical attempted to clean up damage
caused by the leaking barrels, but they actually caused substantial
additional releases of plutonium on site.
Dr. Carl Johnson, Jefferson County health director from 1973 to 1981,
directed numerous studies on contaminationlevels and public
health risks. Based on his conclusions, Johnson opposed
housing development near Rocky Flats. He was fired.
On June 6, 1989 the FBI and EPA raided the facility.
They discovered numerous violations of federal
anti-pollution laws, including contamination
of water and soil.
In 1992, Rockwell, the plant’s management company, pled guilty to environmental
crimes and paid an $18.5 million fine. This was the largest fine
for an environmental crime to that date.
The half-life of the most common radioactive isotope or form of the element released, Pu-239, is 24,000 years.
Plutonium waste will continue to harm the environment and people in the area for thousands of years.
**All of the information on these slides can be found in the resources compiled on this site.
The primary sources are Wikipedia and Nuclear physicist/Expert in the process of manufacturing
nuclear weapons, Tom Cochran’s analysis of some of the practices at Rocky Flats for the class-action
lawsuit, Merilyn Cook et al vs. Rockwell International Corporation and the Dow Chemical Company.