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Rocky Flats Nuclear Facility

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  • 1957 Fire

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    Workers look at the burned out glovebox where the 1957 fire began on September 11. It was the first large conflagration at the Rocky Flats plant.
    1957 Fire
  • Fire damage in plutonium production building, 1969
  • Rocky Flats Nuclear Facility

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    Westward view of Rocky Flats Nuclear Facility, built northwest of Denver by the US government in 1951 to produce nuclear bomb cores. Rocky Flats operated in this capacity until it was decommissioned  in 1991 following the end of the Cold War. During the 1980s it was found that toxic waste from the bomb core production process had been contaminating the surrounding environment for decades; cleanup began in the 1990s, and in 2007 the US Fish and Wildlife Service acquired the site, turning it into a national wildlife refuge.
    Rocky Flats Nuclear Facility



Len Ackland, Making a Real Killing: Rocky Flats and the Nuclear West (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1999; paperback, 2002).

Len Ackland, “Open Wound from a Tough Nuclear History,” in Remedies for a New West: Healing Landscapes, Histories, and Cultures, ed. Patricia Limerick, Andrew Cowell, Sharon K. Collinge (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2009).

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

Dorothy Day Ciarlo, “Secrecy and Its Fallout at a Nuclear Weapons Plant: A Study of Rocky Flats Oral Histories,” Peace and Conflict 15 (2009).

Natural Resources Defense Council, “Nuclear Energy, Nonproliferation, and Disarmament.”

Rocky Flats Institute and Museum.

Additional Information: 

Alsos Digital Library for Nuclear Issues.

Joseph Daniel, Daniel Ellsberg, Keith Pope, Allen Ginsberg, LeRoy Moore, A Year of Disobedience and a Criticality of Conscience (Boulder: Story Arts Media, 2013).

Energy Employees Claimant Assistance Project.

Federation of American Scientists, “The Nuclear Information Project.”

Isao Hashimoto, Multimedia Artwork of Nuclear Weapons Tests.

Farrel D. Hobbs, An Insider’s View of Rocky Flats: Urban Myths Debunked (Self-published: 2010).

Kristin Iversen, Full Body Burden: Growing up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats (New York: Crown, 2012).

Wes McKinley and Caron Balkany, The Ambushed Grand Jury (New York: Apex, 2004).