How Clean is Rocky Flats Really?
The original cleanup was estimated to take decades and cost upwards of $40 Billion dollars. The actual cleanup took less than 10 years to complete and cost just under $7 Billion USD. Turns out most of that $7 Billion was bonus payouts to executives and managers for doing the clean up as quickly and cheaply as possible.
They buried most of the buildings onsite under six feet of soil, paved over portions of it and in 2006, called it “complete.” The amount of plutonium left onsite is unknown.
Remediation of contaminates was not done outside of the central operating unit (OU1), which is the nuclear waste Superfund site at the center of the wildlife refuge and contains two landfills. The areas outside the weapons plant boundaries, in what was referred to as the “buffer zone,” is now what is called the Wildlife refuge, were deemed “safe,” despite having levels in areas well above “allowable background limits.” You can read the EPA report to find out more about where they did (and didn’t!) clean up. Click here to read the full site report on the wildlife refuge which includes hot spots up to 19 piCu/g of plutonium in the soil- well above the .01 piCu/g limit!
Here is what they buried:
Below is a graphic demonstrating the “allowable” amounts of plutonium in the soil out at Rocky Flats. Below six feet, they buried the Infinity Rooms from the processing buildings that were collapsed and kept onsite. The Infinity Rooms are rooms where the radiation is so high, it was off the charts and they had to seal the rooms off with large lead lined panels while in operation.
Click here to watch a short video explaining the details of the clean up.
Here is how much plutonium is in one of the fields on the Wildlife Refuge (next to the homes in Candelas):
In January 2015, Carl Spreng, Rocky Flats Program Manager with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) made a presentation to the Rocky Flats Stewardship Council on exactly how much plutonium(Pu) is in the field along the northern border of the Candelas Development (See map below). The presentation included a “hot spot” of plutonium of 4.60pCi/g. Click here to view the report and here for the full test results with the “hot spot.”
This means all that plutonium that the CDPHE reported is still out there in the field just north of all those houses. Why would you take the risk to live next to that when all it takes is one tiny particle inhaled to cause health problems?
Dose the contamination stop there? Is there really a safe side of the fence? Where does all the plutonium with a half life of 24,100 years go?
For more information on the contaminates in the area, read the independent soil sampling report completed by Colorado State University.