News, Analysis and Opinion for the Informed Boulder Resident
Thursday December 12th 2019

Support the Blue Line

Subscribe to the Blue Line

That's what she said

city council transportation energy municipalization xcel housing urban planning april fools bicycles climate action density election 2011 affordable housing boulder county open space election renewables agriculture CU local food climate change election 2013 development youth jefferson parkway pedestrian election 2015 preservation Rocky Flats election 2017 recreation BVSD mountain bikes immigration boards and commissions plan boulder farming fracking GMOs transit urban design decarbonization planning board fires colorado politics wildlife land use smart regs downtown architecture new era colorado transit village parking homeless journalism plutonium natural gas ghgs commuting radioactive waste rental coal height limits taxes april fools 2015 walkability historic preservation energy efficiency historic district Neighborhoods diversity zoning population growth growth students North Boulder flood arts gardens education University Hill water supply bus election 2010 solar election 2018 nutrition RTD sprawl water quality election 2012 groundwater bike lane electric utility safety library april fools 2016 renewable energy affairs of the heart organic flood plain wetlands planning reserve zero waste mayor blue line electric vehicle ballot right-sizing street design transportation master plan obama hazardous waste county commissioners politics hogan-pancost longmont colorado legislature climate smart loan diagonal plaza campaign finance flood mitigation bears Mapleton solar panels PV recycling comprehensive plan golden conservation easement epa boulder junction pesticide congestion food drought road diet oil bus rapid transit commercial development inequality election 2016 flooding planning daily camera public health community cycles BVCP ecocycle Newlands automobile PUC climate change deniers children david miller ken wilson sam weaver community league of women voters wind power public spaces boulder creek crime mlk civil rights west tsa marijuana technology arizona Orchard Grove EV green points al bartlett Whittier city attorney

Plutonium and the Jefferson Parkway: Another Look


By

The author on a windy day in May 2011 at the southeast corner of Rocky Flats on land proposed for the Jefferson Parkway

In an article published in the Blue Line a few days ago, I reported incorrect results from citizen sampling for plutonium in soil in the area at Rocky Flats proposed for construction of the Jefferson Parkway.  The sampling effort was initiated by Rocky Flats Nuclear Guardianship, a project of the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center. We wanted to determine whether highway construction would be likely to stir up a cloud of highly toxic plutonium-laden dust that would endanger workers, nearby residents and others.

In the referenced Blue Line article, I stated that the scientists we hired to do the sampling, Marco Katofen and Strongbear, a colleague from the Boston Chemical Data Corp., had found plutonium concentrations at lower levels than had previously been found in the area intended for the highway construction. I was mistaken. In fact, according to Kaltofen, their samples collected along the eastern, downwind edge of the Rocky Flats site showed plutonium concentrations that closely correspond with results from earlier sampling by others in the same area. Kaltofen and Strongbear found plutonium in 6 samples along Indiana St., the eastern edge of the Rocky Flats site. Two of these samples contained concentrations of plutonium well above what government agencies regard as average background plutonium deposits from global fallout. One came in at about 7 times background, the other at almost 40 times background.

Kaltofen is now doing additional analysis with a focus specifically on the breathable plutonium particles present within the samples he and Strongbear collected, since inhaling such particles is the most dangerous way of being exposed to plutonium. This analysis, he says, will help us see more clearly the actual danger that can result from highway construction proposed for the parkway. By early January we should have information that will help us better understand next steps.

Rate this article: 1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
Loading...

What do you think? Leave a comment!

You must be logged in to post a comment.