viernes, julio 27, 2012

The 'Nuclear Shadow' Of Rocky Flats


Read the whole story at: http://www.npr.org/2012/06/12/154839592/under-the-nuclear-shadow-of-colorados-rocky-flats

Full Body Burden

Under The 'Nuclear Shadow' Of Colorado's Rocky Flats

Kristen Iversen spent years in Europe looking for things to write about before realizing that biggest story she'd ever cover was in the backyard where she grew up. Iversen spent her childhood in Colorado close to the Rocky Flats nuclear weapons factory, playing in fields and swimming in lakes and streams that it now appears were contaminated with plutonium. Later, as a single mother, Iversen worked at the plant but knew little of its environmental and health risks until she saw a feature about it on Nightline.
Iversen's new book, Full Body Burden: Growing up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats, is in part a memoir about her troubled family, and also an investigation into the decades-long environmental scandal involving nuclear contamination in and around Rocky Flats. Weapons production ended there after FBI agents raided the plant in 1989. Its operators later pleaded guilty to criminal violations of environmental law.
But during Iversen's childhood, the people living near Rocky Flats had no idea that plutonium bomb components were being constructed so close to their homes — or that radioactive waste was leaking into the surrounding environment. The plant's day-to-day activities were highly secretive. So secretive, in fact, that Iversen's family didn't know what their neighbors who worked at the plant did for a living.
"The rumor in the neighborhood was that they were making cleaning supplies," says Iversen. "My mother thought they were making Scrubbing Bubbles."
Instead, the plant was manufacturing balls of plutonium that were integral to creating nuclear chain reactions. Workers at the plant manipulated plutonium using lead-lined gloves that were attached to stainless steel boxes. The plutonium was then shipped to a facility in Texas, where it was encased in conventional explosives and made into bombs.
Iversen notes that plutonium, which contains alpha particles, is extremely dangerous to humans if ingested or inhaled.
"If it is inhaled into the lungs — and very, very tiny particles can be inhaled into the lungs — it can lodge in lung tissue and it creates a constant and ongoing source of radiation," says Iversen. "So that's where we see lung cancer and various other health effects."



Kristen Iversen is director of the M.F.A. program in creative writing at the University of Memphis and editor-in-chief of the literary journal The Pinch.
courtesy of the author Kristen Iversen is director of the M.F.A. program in creative writing at the University of Memphis and editor-in-chief of the literary journal The Pinch.

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1 Comentarios:

Anonymous Anónimo dijo...

thanks for sharing.

10:02 p.m.  

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