Apart from the Big Picture documents, we recommend that these documents be read in order.  Suggested background reading is given at the beginning of each; references are at the end.  There is a brief table of contents for each at the beginning.  The choice of PDFs for documents is made necessary by the need to mingle graphics, occasional math, marginal remarks an an extensive bibliography.

By clicking on the file thumbnails, these PDF files will display as normal content (of a size intended for online reading, not a printout) without the need to fire up Acrobat Reader or other browser plugins.  A small control panel that permits you to download the file is present at the bottom of the viewing window; by toggling full screen you can go back to this file list.


These are summary documents that do not require having read in detail the documents below.

A parable: Why do you drink municipal water?


Take a step back from radiation to a possibly more familiar situation.

Executive summary

 Read this if you’re in a rush.

Documents about the science

Click on the green link to open a separate window showing the PDF file.  Click in the ringed purple oval to view the document “in line” in your current browser page.

Seeking clarity in Fall 2013


DMW’s 2013 experience before buying a house in Candelas.

How people think about radiation


Background on people’s reactions to radiation and risk and how repetition can crowd out truth.

A crash course in radiation, biology, and health physics


Almost everything you need to know to read articles about radiation and health.

Cancer epidemiology


Your risks of cancer are largely determined by your lifestyle; radiation is a small contributor.

From radiation dose to cancer risk


How risk is quantified and how radiation-induced cancer has been monitored. A quick introduction to RESRAD, the tool used by the Department of Energy and others in the US and abroad for assessing dose and risk.

Radiation doses: large, small, and unavoidable


Put your exposure to radiation from Rocky Flats in perspective.  Despite the highest background radiation rates in the US, cancer rates in Colorado are among the lowest.

Rocky Flats, radiation, and risk


The most important document on our site.  The ‘ground truth’ for those who live around the former Rocky Flats, the famous maps, and radiation dose estimates `by hand’ and using RESRAD, the software used by the US Department of Energy and other entities around the world.

Four simple radiation dose estimates


The estimates themselves (simple math) and a sample check of RESRAD

‘Recent’ developments in low-dose radiation response


The ‘linear, no-threshold’ (LNT) hypothesis , used around the world for radiation mitigation, has been relegated to a regulatory standard determining mitigation levels, not a predictor of cancer risk, which it very likely overestimates at the extremely low doses relevant to the Rocky Flats area.

Common misinformation

Frequently raised concerns include

  • Risks due to ‘hot particles’ were plausible 40 years ago; they were discredited in the mid 1970s and later.
  • Alleged “cancer clusters” around Rocky Flats.  Cancer clusters are very hard to identify.  While downwinders unquestionably were harmed by the history of the Rocky Flats plant, those moving into new developments are not.
  • Uncertainties about the redistribution of Pu by burrowing animals
  • The need to ‘tie the hands’ of the Fish and Wildlife Service about what the need for prescribed (controlled) burns to avoid prairie wildfires within the Wildlife Refuge because of alleged risks due to redistributed or inhaled Pu from ash.

These issues are addressed in Hot particles no longer, Cancer clusters (with suggestions to Downwinders for how to make their case stronger, including software), and  Burrowing critters and burning vegetation.

Hot particles no longer


Highly radioactive inhaled small particles have not been regarded as a special risk since the mid 1970s.

Cancer clusters


Pockets of high cancer rates are extremely hard to demonstrate reliably.  Tools to try.

Burrowing critters and burning vegetation


Simple estimates of why burrows just don’t matter but fires might.  All the more reason to let Fish&Wildlife do its job.