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Posted by on Jul 21, 2012 in Blog | Comments Off

Did you protest at Rocky Flats or Los Alamos?  Have you worked at a nuclear site?  Do you live near a former weapons site, waste storage site, or nuclear power plant?  Share your experiences with us and tell us your stories.  Hanford, Fernald, Oak Ridge, Rocky Flats, Los Alamos–we want to hear it all.  Go to the Contact Page on this website and let us know about your experiences.

Supreme Court Declines Appeal by Rocky Flats Case

Posted by on Jul 20, 2012 in Blog | Comments Off

Amid the outcry about the Supreme Court’s decision on the Affordable Care Act, it was easy to miss another decision that might have even graver consequences for the health of American citizens.  I’m referring to the Supreme Court’s decision not to review Cook v. Rockwell.  Most Americans haven’t even heard of this case, yet the ramifications of the class-action lawsuit against Rocky Flats, America’s most notorious nuclear bomb factory, will have a very long half-life.

I grew up next to that bomb factory, but we knew little about what went on there.  The rumor in the neighborhood was that they were making household cleaning supplies.  For nearly 40 years, Dow and then Rockwell secretly produced more than 70,000 plutonium triggers for nuclear bombs, each one deadly enough to kill every person on earth.  Plutonium and other contaminants traveled into my neighborhood and the Denver metro area.  Plutonium has a half-life of 24,000 years.

Following a shocking 1989 FBI raid on the plant for environmental crimes, more than 12,000 property owners with health and property concerns filed suit.   The plaintiffs argued that “a landowner whose property is devalued because of plutonium contamination has suffered both an invasion of his property and genuine, immediate economic harm.”  Never mind cancer and other health effects, which are higher than average in areas around Rocky Flats.  It took nearly 20 years for Cook v. Rockwell to wind its way through the courts.  In 2006, after deliberating for 17 days, a jury awarded the plaintiffs a total of $554 million.  Rockwell appealed.  Three judges with the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the decision.

And now the Supreme Court has weighed in.  They declined to review the case. (more…)

Have We Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb?

Posted by on Jun 15, 2012 in Blog | Comments Off

Have we learned to stop worrying and love the bomb?
The House recently approved a defense authorization bill for 2013 that shows a remarkable disregard for our current nuclear goals and the deadly legacy of our nuclear past.  Several aspects of this bill are troubling.  Despite U.S. commitment to the 2010 New Start pact, when both the U.S. and Moscow agreed to cut the number of deployed strategic weapons, the bill proposes keeping the number of weapons at current levels with no reduction or withdrawal of tactical weapons in Europe.  The bill wants to beef up bomb production as well.  Back in 1989, when the production of plutonium pits was halted at Rocky Flats following an FBI raid, the Los Alamos National Lab in New Mexico picked up the slack.  But LANL is capable of producing only a few pits per year whereas Rocky Flats produced 70,000 over nearly 40 years.  The bill calls for $160 million to build a new plutonium plant in New Mexico (more…)

A dozen reasons why the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge should remain closed to the public

Posted by on Jun 12, 2010 in Blog, Environmental News, Rocky Flats | Comments Off

By LeRoy Moore, PhD, Rocky Mountain Peace & Justice Center, June 2010

 

A dozen reasons why the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge should remain closed to the public

After completion of the “cleanup” of the 6,500-acre site of the defunct Rocky Flats nuclear bomb plant, about three-fourths of the site (roughly 7 square miles) was transferred from the Department of Energy to U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to operate as a wildlife refuge. DOE retained 1,300 more contaminated acres (about 2 square miles) surrounded by the FWS land.

1. Long-term danger of plutonium, the contaminant of concern

Plutonium 239, the contaminant of principal concern at Rocky Flats, has a half-life of 24,110 years. It remains dangerously radioactive for more than a quarter-million years. Any quantity left in the environment poses an essentially permanent danger.

2. Plutonium’s lethal quality

The alpha radiation emitted by plutonium cannot penetrate skin. But tiny particles inhaled, ingested, or taken into the body through an open wound may lodge in the lungs or migrate to bone. For as long as it (more…)