Against stupidity the gods themselves content in vain

Frederich Schiller

No statements from social media are included. Statements which are intrinsically outlandish or out of date by decades are here rather than on the True/False web page.

As Paul Karolyi noted in Episode 4 (Is It Safe?) of the Changing Denver series on Rocky Flats,

But here’s the thing, there are a lot of independent scientists and former scientists affiliated with the activists, but I haven’t come across a single specialist in health physics. No toxicologist either. And those are the subjects concerning health risks of radiation.

The only person in the group that I’ve found claiming expertise in these fields is the de facto leader, the 86-year-old doyen of the movement, the man who led them from the encirclement in ’83 through the cleanup years all the way up to today, LeRoy Moore.

We beg to differ. There is one Ph.D in physical sciences: two meteorologists in their 80s. LeRoy’s Ph.D is in divinity. Dr. Michael Ketterer at the time of the podcasts had distanced himself from the activists, although he continued to do work for hire for the Peace and Justice Center. In what way are any of the alleged scientists independent? As a consequence of the complete lack of any expertise in physical sciences or health physics, some remarkably ridiculous statements have been made by anti-Refuge activists. All are traceable to a complete ignorance of radiation dose, the defining feature of Rocky Flats pseudo-science. Here we go, in the form of Point (left column) and Counterpoint (right column):

LeRoy Moore: If it [a hot particle] gets into the body. If I inhale it or if I fall down and it gets into the blood stream. It will go somewhere in the body and lodge at that location, and it will stay there. It will stay there for the rest of your life. And it will continually release alpha radiation to surrounding cells. Twenty or thirty years later, a single particle may cause cancer. Or it may hurt your immune system. Or it may pass on to future generations. All those things are possible.

Rocky Flats Nuclear Guardianship: Why does CDPHE neglect to acknowledge additional studies to understand the full range of science on this issue? For example a study from Columbia University found “These data provide direct evidence that a single alpha particle traversing a nucleus will have a high probability of resulting in a mutation and highlight the need for radiation protection at low doses.” (Hei et al., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 94, April 1997, pp. 3765-3770.)

Rocky Flats Nuclear Guardianship: ...regarding DOE funding for the CDPHE Hazardous Materials and Waste Management Division. This is a conflict of interest for a Federal agency to be funding their regulatory oversight. CDPHE claims this is normal, however we need our elected officials to listen and acknowledge the citizens that know this conflict of interest is inappropriate.

This was a valid concern in 1974. By the end of 1976 it had been strongly disputed by the EPA. By 1978 there was international consensus that hot particles were not remarkably toxic. Without specifying the size of the particle one cannot calculate the dose–it is entirely meaningless to say anything about hot particles in general. Calculations are shown elsewhere on the website. More recent calculations using Ketterer’s data noted that 25 Rocky Flats workers inhaled PuO2 hot particles from the 1965 fire. The measured lung radioactivity corresponded on average to 10,000 to 100,000 hot particles of average diameter 0.6 microns. Ten years after the accident there had been no reported cases of cancer.

Smells like a ‘point’ made by Randy Stafford (refuted by DMW) in 2019. This is like comparing a raindrop to a water cannon. Quite apart from the fact that plutonium contributes only about 2.5% of alpha radiation from Rocky Flats soil, Hei’s approach involved a ‘microbeam’ radiation dose equivalent to about 1000 chest X-rays, far far above doses from Pu in soil. This is uninformed ‘cherry picking’ of irrelevant data, a constant tactic by anti-Refuge activists.

As noted by CDPHE, “The U.S. Department of Energy reimburses CDPHE for its Rocky Flats remedy oversight, environmental fees, and associated costs (e.g., sampling). In accordance with the terms of the Rocky Flats Legacy Management Agreement, CDPHE’s billable hours and other costs are charged to a specific grant. This is an example of the “polluter pays principle” of environmental law, where the responsible entity – not the State of Colorado – bears the cost for past releases to the environment. Many other federal facilities are managed this way, both in Colorado and across the United States.”