Why the Candelas Development is Controversial

Formerly part of a protective no-build zone, the Candelas development has already begun construction and selling homes while a toll-road is slated to be built through Candelas and then over Rocky Flats. There are also beginning plans for a visitor center on the former buffer zone, now wildlife refuge, surrounding the active Nuclear Waste Superfund site at the center.

Potential and current Candelas, Arvada, Westminster, Superior, Denver, Thornton and Northglenn residents should be made aware of a few things:
1) Absolutely no remediation has ever been performed to remove radioactive materials and carcinogens from the “buffer zone” area, now known as the Rocky Flats National (Nuclear) Wildlife Refuge. The Superfund site cleanup took place only in the central operable unit, where the nuclear weapons manufacturing plant was located.

2) While they removed some 21 tons of radioactive materials and building structures from the Superfund site, they also left in place basements and sub structures of these buildings, many too contaminated to be removed safely, and did not entomb the area in a cement sarcophagus, a common practice at other nuclear waste sites.

3) Since the flood in 2013, the Superfund site has been leaking radioactive elements such as Plutonium and Americium, at levels that are above “allowable limits” into the surface water, which eventually flows onto the wildlife refuge. Details below.

The developers at Candelas and in the surrounding areas are misrepresenting the facts about the contamination at Rocky Flats, and purposely working to redirect concerned homeowners to the benefits, not risks, of living next to the active nuclear waste Superfund site. The development at Candelas echos that which took place in the now famous Love Canal, and many concerned neighbors are waiting until the latency period to develop cancer passes and residents start falling ill.

Here is how much plutonium is in the field right next to  the Candelas Development:
In January 2015, Carl Spreng, Former Rocky Flats Program Manager with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) presented to the Rocky Flats Stewardship Council exactly how much plutonium(Pu) is in the field along the northern border of the Candelas Development (See map below). The presentation included a “hot spot” of plutonium of 4.60pCi/g, which is 400 x background levels. Mr. Spreng then omitted listing the HOT SPOT in the average for the area on page 4 of the report, so that the average amounts listed would be under allowable limits.

No one is denying that there are elevated levels at the site, not even the CDPHE. But it’s important to remember that there’s no such thing as a “safe dose” of plutonium, so it doesn’t really matter when CDPHE and the EPA say the contamination is “low” and meets “conservative cleanup standards,” because no amount of exposure should be allowed.

Click here to view the report and here for the full test results with the “hot spot.”

Pu in the field

NO remediation has ever been done outside of the central operating unit (OU1),  also known as the nuclear waste superfund site at the center of the wildlife refuge. The
OU1 remains to toxic to ever be opened to the public. You can read the EPA Corrective Action Decision report  to find out more on where and what was cleaned up, and what wasn’t cleaned up (OU2), despite elevated levels of weapons grade plutonium  being present.  This means all that plutonium that the CDPHE reported is still out there in the field just north of all those houses.

Why would you take the risk to live next to that when all it takes is one tiny particle inhaled to cause health problems?

But it gets worse:
The developers at Candelas did some testing for concerned residents and created some official looking brochures and websites including, www.candelasrockyflats.com, which is now run by Candelas Resident, Kim Griffiths, to assuage residents fears and misdirect potential homeowners attention to their misinformation campaign. (If you knew people are suing to keep land next to your new home closed because of nuclear waste, would you really want to live there?)

In the past, a potential homeowner doing their due diligence might have found the developers sponsored soil tests on that site above (2011 Test, 2013 Test) which reveal they only did GAMMA radiation testing.  But plutonium is an ALPHA radiation emitter. Gamma radiation comes from things like radon, which is naturally occurring in Colorado. You can see that the developers didn’t even test for the element they are trying to assure the residents is not a concern. They have since removed these test form their site. Hm, wonder why.

GammavsAlphaProfessor Michael Ketterer, Ph.D., raises the same concern and stating “I don’t think we can be insured at all that a property like Candelas and other locations are clean,” to regulators at the Highland City Club in Boulder on August 4, 2015.  Click here to watch, the statement occurs at 18:45.

…and it’s still leaking.

Last and most concerning really is that the central nuclear waste landfill superfund site at the center if the wildlife refuge is still leaking contaminates above allowable limits. Peruse through the Rocky Flats Stewardship Council Updates and you will find many Reportable Events of elevated radiation leaks detected.

The July 2015 report from the Rocky Flats Stewardship Council reported elevated levels of americium and of plutonium (1.02 pCi/L of Pu; remember “allowable” is .15 pCi/L). Look for “Contact Record 2015-05” on page 3.

Are you starting to get the same feeling we are?

For more information we invite you to also visit www.candelasconcerns.com.

Lack of Full Disclosure:

Have you ever wondered what the developers at Candelas tell the residents about living next to Rocky Flats, the former Nuclear Weapons Plant, and the possibility of exposure to plutonium they might have from living there?

We have obtained copies of the disclosures and, guess what?!

They say nothing about the plutonium and the dangers that lurk there, or the high incidences of cancers in the area, or the effects the exposure has had on the people or wildlife that remain in the area. Can you imagine signing this disclosure and no where does it say “former superfund site considered one of the most toxic in the US!”

Click to read for yourself.

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More Resources:

  • Metro State University of Denver partnered with Rocky Flats Downwinders to conduct a health survey to study possible impacts of living near Rocky Flats.
  • Visit www.rockyflatsnuclearguardianship.org to find maps and ongoing information, as well.
  • If you have more time and want to learn more check out the following resources:
    • First, get a copy of Kirsten Iverson’s award-winning memoir which includes incredibly well-researched information about Rocky Flats– which she grew up very close to & where she even worked:

full body

Full Body Burden: Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats.

    • Another well-written book: Ambushed Grand Jury by Wes McKinley:


Dig Deeper:

    • Amazing video put together by a Japanese artists that makes visual the 2,053 Nuclear explosions 1945-1998. Not Rocky Flats specific, but mesmerizing once it gets started.
    • EPA info on Rocky Flats
    • Rocky Flats Stewardship Council findings on off-site contamination. We believe it’s meant to calm fears, but some of the facts mentioned are disturbing. The examination of background radiation levels are skewed– not taking into account the incredibly difficult-to-measure Plutonium contamination, for which environmental radiation is not of primary concern,  but possible inhalation or ingestion of minuscule Plutonium particles are of concern.
    • July 2015 Stewardship Council Meeting notes– look for elevated levels of plutonium and americium and overwhelmed monitoring equipment.

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