Daily Archives: June 27, 2017

An Overview of the Rocky Flats Plant

Nuclear Power Plant

The Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge stands on what was once a nuclear weapons production facility . The plant is located around 15 miles to the northwest of Denver. It caused radioactive contamination inside and outside its premises.

Because of the contamination from plutonium, uranium, and americium, the Rocky Flats Plant went through dismantling and removal. If you worked in this plant, then you can talk to medical providers such as Nuclear Care Partners for benefits entitlement.

Plutonium Fires

Two major plutonium fires erupted in 1957 and 1969. Because plutonium is pyrophoric, its shavings can combust in an instant. These fires caused the contamination incidents. The wind-blown plutonium particles that leaked from containers of radioactive waste made matters worse.

The plant’s operational life started in 1952 and ended in 1992. Many smaller accidents happened during the period. The contamination affected the populated areas in north-west Denver the most. No reports on the accidents and contamination went public until the late 70s.

First Published Studies and Reports

According to a study co-authored by Edward Martell in 1972, the contamination levels in the thickly populated areas in Denver are hundreds of times more than nuclear test levels. A large part of the population in the specific area in Denver went through exposure to plutonium since 1953.

There was a series of studies conducted in the 1990s to assess the extent of the public exposure to the toxic substances. The studies presented the cancer risk of people exposed to the 1957 fire. They found that a laborer working outdoors in the reddest portions of Arvada had a 2/1,000,000 danger of developing cancer.

The combined EPA and EPA raid in 1989 put an end on the production of weapons at the site. It marked the end of the Rocky Flats Plant. All the buildings went through demolition, leaving no traces left standing on the site. The focus was no longer on producing weapons of mass destruction, but on cleanup.

The end of the Cold War brought much-needed changes in the policies on nuclear weapons. The plant is now a cleanup site.