Saturday, December 10, 2005

Former jury foreman says Rocky Flats has not been cleaned up

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
December 9, 2005

DENVER - A lawmaker who was the foreman of a grand jury that investigated the former Rocky Flats nuclear weapons factory is disputing allegations the site has been cleaned up.

"The only thing that got cleaned up at Rocky Flats was the Colorado taxpayer," Rep. Wes McKinley, D-Walsh, said Thursday.

Deputy Energy Secretary Clay Sell declared the 10-year, $7 billion cleanup of Rocky Flats complete Thursday, making it the first former nuclear weapons site to be totally remediated.

Contractor Kaiser Hill Inc. finished the project early and for much less than the initial cost estimates, which ran as high as $70 billion.

McKinley said he plans to introduce legislation next year that would expose what he said were environmental crimes committed at the site. He said he will expose the continuing safety threat.

Rocky Flats manufactured plutonium triggers for nuclear warheads until it was shut down in 1991 because of safety problems and the end of the Cold War. Most of the 6,240-acre site northwest of Denver is being converted to a wildlife refuge, but state and federal health regulators must still verify the cleanup.

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