2002 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 17 Oct 2002 18:26:54 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Cleanup Work in Colorado Reduces Risk of Plutonium Accident
Cleanup Work in Colorado Reduces Risk of Plutonium Accident
Associated Press 10/15/2002
SUPERIOR, Colo.?A $7 billion cleanup of the Rocky Flats nuclear weapons
factory is going so well, so far, that managers say 99 percent of the
risk of a major plutonium accident has been eliminated and the project
could be finished a year early.

The factory for years during the Cold War made the pits, or triggers,
for nuclear weapons, melting, machining and altering plutonium to make
it fit into the bombs that provided the U.S. a deterrent to aggression.

The site once was called the most dangerous in the nation because of the
chance that radiation could escape, killing workers and even spreading
over the Denver metro area, 17 miles downwind. But now much of the
plutonium has been shipped out and the dangers are down.

"Risks were more folklore," said Joe Legare, the Department of Energy's
environmental manager for Rocky Flats. "Or the risk was there and we
found it was manageable."

Even the so-called infinity room, in Building 771, which was closed off
30 years ago because radiation levels were off the charts, now has been
treated with a spray that captured airborne radiation and trapped it,
and its dangers are being addressed.

The factory closed temporarily in 1989 because of safety problems and
then never reopened because of the end of the Cold War.

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