We’ve all just experienced the horror of a huge, terrifying fire as parts of Superior, Louisville and Boulder County were wasted by the Marshal, Middle Fork infernos. This will probably will go down as one of the most horrendous wildfires in our state’s history.
Part of the affected area borders Rocky Flats, the birthplace of 70,000 plutonium pits that were each destined to be the heart of a nuclear weapon — devices that could torch into an endless inferno nearly thousands of times as big.
Please forgive me for harping about the dangers of Rocky Flats when at least 1,000 families have lost their homes and are experiencing the deep anguish that must accompany such loss. Our hearts are aching for them.
In a 2020 U.S. Government Accountability Office report on Rocky Flats, chairman Sen. James Inhofe and ranking-member Sen. Jack Reed, along with the Committee on Armed Services and United States Senate wrote:
“Over seventy years of nuclear weapons production and energy research
by the federal government has generated large amounts of radioactive
and hazardous waste, spent nuclear fuel, uranium mill tailings, and
contaminated soil and groundwater at hundreds of sites across the
Even after active environmental remediation of these sites is
completed, few sites will be cleaned up to the point that they can be
released for unrestricted human access. Rather, many sites will require
surveillance and maintenance to ensure the continued protection of
human health and the environment for as long as contamination
remains — in many cases, hundreds or thousands of years into the future.”
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ Doomsday Clock, set at 100 seconds to midnight, warned that humanity stands at the brink of apocalypse due to the twin existential threats posed by nuclear weapons and climate change. As stated by The Bulletin on Jan. 27, 2021:
“Accelerating nuclear programs in multiple countries moved the world into less stable and manageable territory last year. Development of hypersonic glide vehicles, ballistic missile defenses, and weapons-delivery systems that can flexibly use conventional or nuclear warheads may raise the probability of miscalculation in times of tension.”
Continuing preparations for nuclear war by the nine nuclear powers and the climate emergency are compounded by “the continuing corruption of the information ecosphere on which democracy and public decision-making depend.”
Solutions to these threats are readily apparent: fulfill the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty’s promise of a nuclear weapons-free world; end the use of fossil fuels; and make massive investments in green energy alternatives.