“There was community distrust of Rocky Flats and the Department of Energy, rooted in the cold war mission, but relevant to the ability of DOE and its contractors to implement the cleanup in an aggressive and innovative manner. . . . DOE was often engaged in arguments that were grounded in events that occurred decades ago and had little to do with cleanup. But the distrust created then carried forward to the present.” And, “It became evident that some activist groups were opposed to the cleanup. Under a thin veneer of concern for the environment was a core of anti-nuclear activism, with an agenda of ensuring Rocky Flats remained a negative image of the cold war legacy, versus a positive example of a Superfund cleanup. The misstatements and anti-nuclear rhetoric were transparent, but did find an audience with citizens genuinely interested in being informed about the cleanup. While this strategy on the part of the activists was tedious, it was essential that DOE address each issue raised to begin to correct the low trust of the DOE. This cycle of point and counterpoint with the activist groups created cynicism within the DOE, and skepticism that some stakeholders were not particularly interested in the cleanup, but were more interested in using it as a tool to further other agendas." USDOE Rocky Flats Project Office Closure Legacy: from weapons to wildlife.(2006)

Meet the anti-Refuge groups

They are united in a set of common beliefs, vulnerabilities to misinformation, and tactics. Joint efforts, paid for by the Rocky Mountain Peace&Justice Center in Boulder, occasionally occur. A focus on plutonium since the 1980s has completely infantilized discussion of Rocky Flats and means that most claims cannot withstand even superficial inspection by actual scientists. The following headers are clickable links:

Rocky Mountain Peace & Justice Center, Boulder

The Rocky Flats Nuclear Guardianship website is not actively maintained, but is well stocked mostly with old, mostly technically dubious, screeds by LeRoy Moore, founder of P&J. The website explains

Nuclear Guardianship combines art, science, and remembrance to address the seemingly intractable human-caused problem of nuclear contamination with wisdom and creativity.

Physicians for Social Responsibility (Colorado chapter)

This group has a long anti-nuclear history

The fear of plutonium exposure has been greatly exaggerated by ignorant comments of the media and antinuclear activists who are not interested in truth and facts. Their agenda is to disavow, avoid, block, and deter nuclear power development. Helen Caldicott is a pediatrician and founding president of Physicians for Social Responsibility. She considered it her responsibility as an ardent antinuclear activist to make untrue statements about plutonium. In a 2013 article published in an Australian newspaper, Caldicott said that plutonium lasts for 240,000 years (actually it has a 24,110-year half-life), that plutonium is one of the most potent carcino- gens known, and that plutonium readily crosses the placenta and causes birth deformities and heritable genetic effects. None of these statements are true. The reality of science is quite different. The lethal dose (mass basis) for injected crystalline botulinum toxin is about a million times more potent than an injected dose of monomeric plutonium-239. Plutonium and its heavier transuranic neighbors are greatly feared by most people because of their association with nuclear weapons and from radiophobia-inducing inaccuracies from folks like Caldicott, whose ultimate agenda is to dismantle all nuclear power plants.

Radiobiology and Radiation Hormesis, Charles L. Sanders, Ph.D, Chapter 4,
Springer International Publishing AG 2017,
ISBN 978-3-319-56371-8 ISBN 978-3-319-56372-5 (eBook) DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-56372-5

Miscellaneous websites

  • Candelas Glows, founded by a practicing astrologer.
  • Rocky Flats Glows (...and so do the surrounding neighborhoods: Whisper Creek, Leyden Rock, Candelas, Skystone, Standley Lake)

Common features

  • Anti-nuclear stance which extends to nuclear power, not just nuclear weapons
  • Almost none are even superficially familiar with the vast body of information about Rocky Flats, yet repeated claim that 'not enough is known about...'
  • No familiarity at all with the scientific literature about radiation and health. This means most believe any amount of radiation is anathema, and the idea of 'background radiation' alien.
  • Most serious of all: no comprehension of radiation dose, which determines whether risk is negligible or fatal. You will never see or hear mention of dose in any documents, statements, or presentations from anti-Refuge groups.
  • Generally no physical scientists are involved, so no comprehension of elementary nuclear physics, statistics, or careful reasoning. As a result they make statements that are incompatible with physics or the properties of nuclear radiation.
  • Members have no familiarity with the methods of science so routinely believe fallacious arguments from leaders
  • Most are uncomfortable with the math that occurs in the sciences and make gross misstatements occasionally.

What makes them vulnerable to misinformation?

  • A long suspicion of the U.S. Department of Energy (certainly justified until the end of the Cold War) and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Guess what? Only people who work or have worked for the DOE even have access to plutonium, so rejecting their expertise means you must use international resources to learn what the DOE now documents freely.
  • Categorical rejection by some of experts, credentials.
  • Continued use of arguments from the 1970s, long since discredited, such as '1 hot particle will kill you', or the use of the discredited health surveys of Carl xxx Johnson.
  • Belief by some that there is a conspiracy to hide the truth about Rocky Flats. Alas, this includes some of their leaders.