Welcome to the neighborhood!

October 2022

If you are a newcomer to Colorado or to the Denver metro area, the history of this area may not be fully known to you.  Rocky Flats is the site of a plutonium processing plant which produced fission triggers for thermonuclear (H) bombs.  If you are a long-timer you may not know what to believe, depending on where you get your information. The concern for some people is the health implications of the legacy of a former plutonium processing plant with sometimes sloppy storage practices.  Others are happy to read reports from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, the Colorado state government, the U.S. Department of Energy, and the Environmental Protection Agency.  Each has extensive documentation about the history of the site.

The principal health impact of moderate doses (see the technical documents for more) of nuclear radiation is cancer, and the "latency"--loosely speaking, the time between cause (exposure) and effect (disease)--of many cancers is decades.  By contrast, the “canary in the coal mine” for a radiation problem (for example, at Chernobyl) is leukemia, which generally emerges in less than 4 years.  At and around Rocky Flats there has been no confirmed evidence of a leukemia problem (except in a report by Carl Johnson in 1981). Those who worked at the plant have been repeatedly studied as part of a US cohort of nuclear workers working with plutonium (and with fairly well documented doses of radiation because they wore dosimeters). The population around and downwind of Rocky Flats has been surveyed repeatedly by the state of Colorado with no excess cancers detected.

It has been more than 33 years since the plant ceased operating and more than 52 since the later of the famous fires in 1957 and 1969, although poor waste disposal practices persisted until the plant was closed.

The list of players (December 2020)

So contentious has been the Superfund cleanup, use of the Rocky Flats site as a wildlife refuge, and the safety of even living nearby that “You can't tell the players without a scorecard” (a phrase attributed to an English-born food concessionaire at baseball games, to whom invention of the hot dog is also credited). This column is intended to help.

Links to information sources are given in green; some data reported in 2017 no longer given


Candelas www.point2homes.com/US/Neighborhood/CO/Candelas-Demographics.html

12,026 people, 4,282 households, median age 39

Whisper Creek [https://www.point2homes.com/US/Neighborhood/CO/Whisper-Creek-Demographics.html]

26,016 people, 20,262 households; median age 43

Almost 18% have post-undergraduate degrees; 36% have a bachelor's degree: almost 54% are college-educated. [from 2017 data]

Leyden Rock [http://homesourcegroup.com/moving-leyden-rock/ data]

Very little post-2010 census data available except for Leyden itself.

Village of Five Parks Very little post-2010 census data available.

The point of the remarks above about educational levels is to show that those who live near the former Rocky Flats plant are in general well-educated and “voted with their feet” about how safe they feel in the new developments.

New residents need to accept their role as new stakeholders in what happens to the RF Wildlife Preserve and begin to exert their political influence. Reminder: We hugely outnumber those opposed (see below), but until we our voices are heard they will be drowned out by  very opinionated people with no 'skin in the game'.

Government entities


U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Legacy Management (DOE/LM) [https://www.lm.doe.gov/rocky_flats/Sites.aspx]

The Department of Energy subcontracted the management of the Rocky Flats plant and thus bears partial responsibility for gross safety infringements and sloppy practices there until the famous FBI raid of 1989. The DOE continues to subcontract management of nuclear facilities to large for-profit military contractor corporations and continues to suffer safety-related blunders as a consequence. [See ongoing reports under the heading 'National Security' at the Pulitzer Prize-winning Center for Public Integrity https://www.publicintegrity.org].

However, the Office of Legacy Management should not be tarred with the same brush. Its goals include (from their web site) to:

  1. Protect human health and the environment

  2. Preserve, protect, and share records and information

  3. Safeguard former contractor workers’ retirement benefits

  4. Sustainably manage and optimize the use of land and assets

  5. Sustain management excellence

  6. Engage the public, governments, and interested parties

Most documents it publishes are technical and not readily digestible by citizens who do not know the history and nomenclature of the site. The last few goals may not have the funding they would like.

The DOE Legacy Management Support Contractor for Rocky Flats is Bob Darr of Navarro Research and Engineering, Inc., an actual small subcontractor of the DOE.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service [https://www.fws.gov/refuge/rocky_flats/]

Now manages the part of the Rocky Flats that is not part of the off-limits DOE “Legacy Site”. See a clear map of proposed use of the Preserve at https://www.fws.gov/uploadedFiles/RockyFlatsNWR_ProposedVisitorFacilitiesMap.pdf

David Lucas is the current manager for the Rocky Flats Wildlife Refuge.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency [https://www.epa.gov/co]

This appears mostly useful as a repository of documents related to Rocky Flats. Want to know about radioactivity levels around Rocky Flats in 1970? This is the place for you.


The Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment [https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/rocky-flats]

This is perhaps the best source of comprehensible, comprehensive, and up-to-date documents about the history of the site and ongoing research. The current state project manager is Carl Spreng.

Quasi-governmental entities

Rocky Flats Stewardship Council [http://rockyflatssc.org]

Meets at least four times per year. Membership consists of `local stakeholders': Jefferson and Boulder counties, City and County of Broomfield, and the cities of Arvada, Boulder, Golden, Northglenn, Thornton, Westminster.

The current members of its Board of Directors is available at the URL http://www.rockyflatssc.org/board_of_directors.html

David Abelson is the current director and principal contact for the RF Stewardship Council.

Non-governmental web sites

Opposing use of the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Preserve:

  1. LeRoy Moore blog https://leroymoore.wordpress.com
  2. Candelas Glows https://candelasglows.com
  3. The Ambushed Grand Jury https://rockyflatsambushedgrandjury.com
  4. Rocky Flats Downwinders http://rockyflatsdownwinders.com
  5. RMPJC/Rocky Flats Nuclear Guardianship http://www.rockyflatsnuclearguardianship.orghttps://rockyflatsglows.com
  6. Candelas Concerns http://www.candelasconcerns.com
  7. Rocky Flats Glows...and so do the surrounding neighborhoods: Whisper Creek, Leyden Rock, Candelas, Skystone, Standley Lake
  8. Rocky Flats Neighborhood Association http://rockyflatsneighbors.com [this is a satirical and sardonic joke, not our web site of course]
  9. http://www.kristeniversen.com Influential book about Rocky Flats.

Websites supporting active use of Rocky Flats National Wildlife Preserve by the public

https://rockyflatsneighbors.org [OUR web site, set up April 2016]

http://www.candelasrockyflats.com/index.html Set up by Candelas developers, January 2013.

https://www.sandrabornstein.com/assessing-risks-living-near-rocky-flats/ An ongoing blog about why the author chooses to live near Rocky Flats.

No known statement on the subject

http://rockyflatsfacts.com A book on Rocky Flats by a former employee. Dubious about motives of Jon Lipsky.

Please bring overlooked web sites devoted to Rocky Flats issues to our attention!