Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Hard Facts of Rocky Flats Nuclear Weapons Plant

The folks at the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center are undertaking a monumental task in the form of a 6-month, 15-part series covering all aspects of the former Nuclear Weapons Plant just 16 miles northwest of Denver. You may know that the current plan is to turn this into a Wildlife Refuge which will be open to the public, despite grave concerns that it is, and will remain, unsafe for visitors. Here's the latest announcement:


“I'm a Rocky Flats ranger, happy as a clam;
'Cuz' there ain't no danger, working where I am.
There's plutonium dust as far as I can see,
But I'm not gonna let that stuff bother me,
'Cuz' it's way outside the scope of my CCP,
Tippee ai o kayee.” From “Rocky Flats Ranger” by Gary Ball, sung to I'm An Old Cowhand, composer unknown.

Is highly radioactive plutonium present in dust blowing in the wind at Rocky Flats? The question is important because the surest way to be harmed by the plutonium left in the environment at Rocky Flats is to inhale airborne particles.

On Thursday, March 17, 7:30 at the Nalanda Campus of Naropa University, 6287 Arapahoe, Boulder, this issue will be explored in a presentation by Marco Kaltofen of the Boston Chemical Data Corp., who heads Worcester Polytechnic Institute’s investigations into nuclear releases. In April 2010 he detected plutonium in dust collected by a citizens group from crawl space in a house downwind of Rocky Flats.

Mr. Kaltofen will be joined in his presentation by biologist Harvey Nichols, PhD, and meteorologist W. Gale Biggs, PhD. Nichols examined airborne radioactive particles released from Rocky Flats in the mid-1970s. Biggs assessed air monitoring at Rocky Flats and investigated the size of plutonium particles released from the plant. The March 17 event is the sixth in the six-month Rocky Flats Nuclear Guardianship series co-sponsored by the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center, Naropa University’s Environmental Studies program and the Alandi Ashram of Boulder. The public is invited; donations will be welcomed.

Nuclear Guardianship combines art, science and remembrance to address the seemingly intractable human-caused problem of nuclear contamination with insight and creativity. By raising awareness about the long-term dangers associated with exposure to tiny particles of radioactive plutonium knowingly left in the soil at Rocky Flats after cleanup of the site, the project builds community on behalf of ecological responsibility and greater democracy.

“Each generation shall endeavor to preserve the foundations of life and well-being for those who come after. To produce and abandon substances that damage following generations is morally unacceptable.” This is the first value of the Guardianship Project Ethic. The project was first conceptualized by author, scholar, Joanna Macy. It is the basis of the Rocky Flats Guardianship Project.

For more details about the project, including a calendar of events and bios of presenters, visit


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