Rocky Flats plutonium in offsite soils

Rocky Flats plutonium in offsite soils.

On February 24, 1970 The Colorado Committee for Environmental Information, Subcommittee on Rocky Flats publicized its report “Plutonium Contamination in the Denver Area.” In late August 1969, following the Mother’s Day 1969 fire at Rocky Flats, Drs. Edward Martell and S.E. Poet of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) collected offsite Rocky Flats environmental samples and reported their findings to General Edward B. Giller of the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), Division of Military Applications, “that disturbing amounts of plutonium were present in offsite soils, especially in areas east of the plant.”

In a letter dated January 13, 1970 Dr. EA Martell enclosed the CCEI report to Dr. Glenn T. Seaborg, Chairman, United States AEC. Dr. Martell noted that “[O]ur investigation has disclosed a number of facts and questions which have serious implications to the health and safety of Dow Rocky Flats Plant employees and the people of the Denver area.” Dr. Martell invited AEC comments and questions regarding the attached report entitled “Report on the Dow Rocky Flats Plant Fire: Implications of Plutonium Releases to the Public Health and Safety” prepared by the CCEI.

It is time to celebrate Dr. Martell and CCEI for taking provocative action against the veil of US national security and nuclear weapons production at Rocky Flats where the US government denied the victim. Without Martell and his colleagues very little would have changed at Rocky Flats in 1970. As a direct result of Dr. Martell’s actions the AEC publicized the practice of open waste burial of nuclear wastes, expanded the buffer zone, began to identify the Rocky Flats waste burial sites that lacked documentation and memorialize the amount and type of nuclear wastes that was sent to the Idaho National lab.

EA Martell, Ph.D.
EA Martell, Ph.D.