DENVER — A plan to allow the public onto the outskirts of a former nuclear weapons plant that’s now a wildlife refuge ran into another court challenge Tuesday.
Environmental and community activists filed suit in federal court saying the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge outside Denver is too dangerousbecause of the potential presence of plutonium and other hazardous materials.
The suit says the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service did not complete a required analysis of environmental risks. The suit also claims the agency did not examine contamination on about one square mile recently added to the refuge.
The refuge encompasses 8 square miles (21 square kilometers) that served as a buffer zone around the weapons plant. The plant site itself is off-limits to the public.
Sitting on a windy mesa west of Denver, Rocky Flats manufactured plutonium triggers for nuclear warheads until it closed in 1989 because of safety and environmental concerns.
It became a refuge in 2007 after a $7 billion cleanup.
The lawsuit was filed by Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center, Candelas Glows, Rocky Flats Right to Know, Rocky Flats Neighborhood Association and Environmental Information Network.
Last week, the Denver Public Schools board barred school-sanctioned field trips to refuge, saying it is too much of a risk.
Read more at Lawsuit filed over ex-nuclear weapons plant converted to refuge