Rocky Flats: Colorado’s Nuclear Shadow via CBS Denver

For 37 years, the Rocky Flats plant produced nuclear weapon parts, 16 miles northwest of Denver. In 1989, the FBI and EPA raided Rocky Flats uncovering serious environmental hazards. Rocky Flats was declared a Superfund site and a $7 billion cleanup would follow. Federal and state health officials say tests show the area where Rocky Flats once stood is safe. But, now as a new community is built alongside the former site, critics questioning the efficacy of the cleanup are coming forward.

Building A Community

Although Rocky Flats was dismantled and cleaned up more than a decade ago, the controversy surrounding the former nuclear weapons facility has not gone away.

Now houses, a school and a whole community called Candelas, is under construction alongside the former Rocky Flats site, 16 miles northwest of Denver.he former nuclear weapons facility has not gone away.


One sales representative pulled out a map to help orient us, “This is Rocky Flats, they were doing some work with nuclear power.”

CBS4: “Nuclear power?”

He said he was not allowed to “interject his opinion” about Rocky Flats, so he offered us a list of websites to read.

“So your first bit of homework is to check out these sites, this is all fact not fiction,” he said.


Reporter’s Notebook

By Rick Sallinger

The site was designated as part of the EPA Superfund and a massive $7 billion clean up
took place. Fires over the years led to some of the contamination issues.

So clean was this area said to be that it was to be turned into a National Wildlife Refuge, open
to the public with hiking trails on the land that is still off limits. It was deemed “acceptable for all uses.”

But our tipster insisted there were issues of which the public should be made aware. He was disturbed to see all the homes being built right across from the Rocky Flats perimeter and even more troubled to learn that a K-8 school was being built right there.

Using an official Department of Energy map, I was able to sit down with this former manager and he took me building by building through the issues he knew that left contaminated walls, stairs and other building partly left in place.

Government authorities confirmed much of the information, but insisted that it was left there because it was more dangerous for workers to remove than to seal it up with concrete and epoxy.


All Candelas buyers must sign papers acknowledging the history, present and future use of the area. Candelas, we learned, was primarily funded by the Southern Ute Tribe. Its person designated to deal with our questions was very helpful with information, but would not provide anyone to go on camera for an interview.

Well, that first tip led to others like him. Some were willing to speak only anonymously others on camera. Eventually it was decided this is much too much for a one-part story, it needed more. And so, here we are “Rocky Flats, Colorado’s Nuclear Shadow.”

Read more at Rocky Flats: Colorado’s Nuclear Shadow

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