Time Period: 1951-2006
Facility Type: Department of Energy
Rocky Flats was built in 1951 as a plutonium and uranium component manufacturing center. From 1952 to 1989, the site’s primary mission was to fabricate the “pit” that contains the heavy metals and serves as the trigger device for nuclear warheads. Rocky Flats was also responsible for recycling plutonium from scrap and plutonium retrieved from retired nuclear warheads. The final products of this recycling included components and assemblies manufactured from uranium, plutonium, beryllium, stainless steel, and other metals. Production activities included metalworking, component fabrication and assembly, chemical recovery and purification of plutonium, and associated quality control functions. Research and development in the fields of chemistry, physics, metallurgy, materials technology, nuclear safety, and mechanical engineering were also conducted at the site.
In 1989, many of the site’s nuclear component production functions were suspended after a safety review temporarily shut down plutonium operations. Following an extensive review, which included considerable independent oversight, a few buildings were authorized by the Secretary of Energy to resume limited plutonium operations: to stabilize plutonium oxide and repackage plutonium for safe storage. In 1989, as a result of the environmental contamination caused by production activities at the site, Rocky Flats was placed on the Superfund National Priorities List. In January 1992, nuclear component production was terminated and the site’s primary mission changed from nuclear weapons production to environmental cleanup and restoration.
Throughout the course of its operations, the potential for beryllium exposure existed at this site, due to beryllium use, residual contamination, and decontamination activities.
CONTRACTORS: Kaiser-Hill Company (1995-present); EG&G Rocky Flats, Inc. (1989-1995); Rockwell International (1975-1989); Dow Chemical (1951-1975)
The Rocky Flats Plant in Golden, Colorado is listed as a Department of Energy (DOE) site under the EEOICPA.
Special Exposure Cohort (SEC) Classes:
SEC classes for Rocky Flats include:
April 1, 1952 through December 31, 1958: Employees of DOE, its predecessor agencies, or DOE contractors or subcontractors who were monitored or should have been monitored for neutron exposures while working at the Rocky Flats Plant in Golden, Colorado, for a number of work days aggregating at least 250 work days from April 1, 1952, through December 31, 1958, or in combination with work days within the parameters established for one or more other classes of employees in the SEC.
January 1, 1959 through December 31, 1966: Employees of DOE, its predecessor agencies, or DOE contractors or subcontractors who were monitored or should have been monitored for neutron exposures while working at the Rocky Flats Plant in Golden, Colorado, for a number of work days aggregating at least 250 work days from January 1, 1959, through December 31, 1966, or in combination with work days within the parameters established for one or more other classes of employees in the SEC.
April 1, 1952 through December 31, 1983: All employees of the Department of Energy, its predecessor agencies, and their contractors and subcontractors who worked at the Rocky Flats Plant in Golden, Colorado, from April 1, 1952, through December 31, 1983, for a number of work days aggregating at least 250 work days, occurring either solely under this employment or in combination with work days within the parameters established for one or more other classes of employees included in the Special Exposure Cohort.
Note: This class was established from Petition 192
As of 07/19/2015, the total compensation paid under Parts B and E of the EEOICPA, including medical compensation, for workers suffering from the effects of having worked at Rocky Flats Plant is $414,365,917.
Rocky Flats Plant Workers:
If you or your parent worked at this or any other DOE or AWE facility and became ill, you may be entitled to compensation of up to $400K plus medical benefits from the US Department of Labor. Call EEOICPA Counsel Hugh Stephens at 1-855-EEOICPA (336-4272) or fill out the form to the right, whether or not you have already filed a claim and even if your claim has been accepted or denied.
We can help with all OWCP (Federal Workers Compensation) claims, impairments, wage loss and health care. 2495 Main Street, Suite 442 Buffalo, NY.
Following WWII, the Atomic Energy Commission chose the Dow Chemical Company to manage hydrogen bomb production for the United States. A facility to carry out this task was built on a parcel of land near Denver, Colorado and named Rocky Flats after the plateau it was built on. The facility opened in 1953 and began making plutonium triggers that were used in the assembly of nuclear weapons. By 1957 Rocky Flats Plant had grown to 27 buildings and expansion of the facility continued throughout the 1960’s. Rockwell International replaced Dow Chemical as contractor for the site in 1975 and in the 1990’s EG & G became the primary contractor. Safety issues were a problem early in the history of Rocky Flats Plants with exposure to radioactivity and other toxins occurring and in 1989 plutonium production at the plant was suspended because of safety violations. In 1991, environmental remediation actions were put into place and after cleanup and closure, Congress voted to establish the area as the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge.
Numerous videos have been made in the attempt to sort out the Rocky Flats Plant’s largely secret history and activities. We have posted quite a few here for your edification as well as our own.
The first video presents a quick, abbreviated outline of the events at the Plant for those with five minutes or less to spare. The rest go into considerably more detail, to the extent that such details are available.
“Buried History,” below, questions what lies beneath the present Rocky Flats Wildlife Refuge, formerly the site of Rocky Flats Plant:
Next, a slightly less rosy history of Rocky Flats Plant than the written one above can be seen:
“Colorado Experience: Colorado’s Cold War (Rocky Flats),” a Rocky Mountain PBS production about Rocky Flats, can be viewed here:
An analysis of some of the practices at Rocky Flats for the class-action lawsuit, Merilyn Cook et al vs. Rockwell International Corporation and the Dow Chemical Company. (1996) is presented below:
A PBS Frontline assessment of the activities at Rocky Flats can be seen here:
A short video from 2010 which depicts some of the horrors currently endured by former Rocky Flats Workers and was made to support the Charlie Wolf Act can be viewed here:
Operation Desert Glow
On June 6, 1989 Rocky Flats Plant, a Department of Energy (DOE) operation, was raided by The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). That raid remains the first time in this country’s history when government criminality was so severe that one Federal Executive Branch Agency was compelled by the evidence of criminal activity to call out another. The raid was Led by FBI Special Agent Jon Lipsky who relates the story of his investigation into the extent of criminality in the operations at Rocky Flats in the five part interview below:
In addition, Erstwhile FBI Agent Lipsky gave a press conference in Denver, CO, in which he comments on the continuing criminal cover-up and whitewashing of the dangers of the former Rocky Flats Plant (now toxic “Wildlife Refuge”) by the DOE:
And, finally, the experience of a Worker at Rocky Flats during its final years can be heard in the playlist of five videos below:
NIOSH SEC Petition Evaluation Reports
Petition 30 (Apr 1952 to Feb 15, 2005):
SEC Petition Evaluation Report – Petition SEC-00030 – Report Rev #0
Report Submittal Date: 4-7-2006
Petition 192 (Jan 1, 1972 to Dec 31, 1989):
SEC Petition Evaluation Report – Petition SEC-00192 – Report Rev #:1
Report Submittal Date: September 30, 2013
Technical Basis Documents
Rocky Flats Plant – Introduction
Effective Date: 11/30/2006, Revision: 01
Rocky Flats Plant – Site Description
Effective Date: 02/01/2007, Revision: 01
Rocky Flats Plant – Occupational Medical Dose
Effective Date: 06/27/2017, Rev. 02
Rocky Flats Plant – Occupational Environmental Dose
Effective Date: 04/23/2007, Revision: 02
Rocky Flats Plant – Occupational Internal Dose
Effective Date: 09/30/2014, Rev. 03
Rocky Flats Plant – Occupational External Dose
Effective Date: 10/20/2010, Revision: 02 PC-1
SC&A’s Current Status of Evaluating the RFP Potential Data Falsification, Handling Bioassays, and Document Destruction Issues
Review of NIOSH’s White Paper:
Assessment of Sealed Radioactive Sources, and Fission and Activation Products as Radiological Exposure Sources in the Rocky Flats Plant Critical Mass Laboratory (Building 886 Cluster)
Major Differences in the three Dose Reconstruction Methods and their Resolution or Course of Action regarding Rocky Flats Plant Case #[Redact]
June 16, 2015