Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Downwind from Rocky Flats

A federal judged ordered Dow Chemical and Rockwell International, former contractors at the Rocky Flats nuclear weapons facility, to pay 926 million dollars to current and former neighbors due east of the plant. The money was to compensate them for radioactive pollution of their land. The federal government is expected to pick up the tab on behalf of the contractors. The former Rocky Flats plant assembled plutonium "triggers"--small bombs that set off a much larger nuclear device.

Learn about the 1969 Mother's Day fire at the plant. The University of Colorado's Center for Environmental Journalism has an online exhibit with details including pictures, video, and copies of relevant documents. Although the fire was contained, it was a close call. If the roof had failed, significant amounts of radioactive material would have been blown towards Denver.

To learn more about Rocky Flats, check out Government Publications' Rocky Flats page.

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