Because the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service plans to open the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge for public recreation this summer and because there is so much public, scientific evidence that the site is powdered with plutonium, the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center is launching a campaign to ask the public to help us keep Rocky Flats closed by requesting legislators and other officials to write a sign-on letter to the USFWS and Department of Energy Legacy Management asking them to keep it closed forever. We feel it is an urgent matter of public health to keep Rocky Flats closed: actionnetwork.org/letters/keep-rocky-flats-closed-forever.
According to the Rocky Flats Action Alert, "The Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge is a former nuclear weapons production facility that created 70,000 plutonium pits. The facility was raided and shut down by the FBI in 1989 after many incidents that contaminated the local environment, including major fires in 1957 and 1969, 5,000 barrels of plutonium-laden waste stored outdoors at the 903 area, and routine operations that released plutonium into the environment. Plutonium still contaminates the land, and no amount of plutonium is safe for living beings. People living downwind from the site and former workers are already suffering the consequences from plutonium contamination in the form of rare cancers, kidney damage and other illnesses.
Wikipedia says: "Plutonium emits alpha radiation, a highly ionizing form of radiation." And according to Energy Education, the health effects of alpha particles vary with how the exposure takes place. If the alpha emitter is inhaled, swallowed or absorbed into the bloodstream, there can be lasting biological damage. This damage increases a person's risk of cancer. Alpha radiation is known to cause lung cancer in humans if the alpha emitter is inhaled. That is why we are concerned.
The government agencies that have overseen the cleanup of Rocky Flats claim that their scientific analyses indicate that the area is safe. And it's certainly beautiful, with rolling hills, tall prairie grasses, abundant flowers and wildlife. But a deeper look suggests that caution needs to be employed to protect public health. Join our campaign!
The Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center's "Peace Train" runs every Friday in the Colorado Daily.