Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Full Body Burden: Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats by, Kristen Iversen

Full Body Burden: Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats by, Kristen Iversen

This was a fascinating look at the Rocky Flats, Colorado plant that built the “triggers” for the atomic bomb, and produced a lot of plutonium waste that affected people’s health that lived around the plant. However according to the government everything is fine and no one should worry.

Kristen grew up next to the plant though neither of her parents worked at the plant, plenty of her friends’ parents did, plus she rode horse and played within close proximity to the plant never realizing it would affect her health years later. That is the scary part about this contamination your symptoms don’t show up immediately it takes decades in some people for the cancers to show up.

At first I was a little put off by her family story since neither of her parents worked at the plant so I didn’t really understand why there was so much about her fathers alcoholism but then she said ‘I couldn’t tell one story without the other because as big as Rocky Flats was in my growing up so was fathers alcoholism they went hand in hand in my memories.” (This is paraphrased) but it made me understand why the two stories needed to be told.

What I found most upsetting in reading this book was; the government cover-ups that went on for decades under the shroud of national security, the tons and tons of missing plutonium, the barrels of waste rusting and leaking into the ground, and that this place even after “clean-up” has no warning signs for people using the reclaimed land as a park. It also amazes me how stupid we were about the effects of plutonium that they built this plant 15 miles from the huge metropolis of Denver. And the lies that the DoE was checking on the levels out there and come to find out that the company that owns the plant send them a memo/report saying everything is fine and we have checked and it was all lies but was rubber stamped by the people that were supposed to be protecting the peoples’ health.

The sad part is Rocky Flats is in no way alone there are numerous plants around the country with these same problems and when you look into nuclear power plants you open up another scary can of worms about the waste from those too.

I think this and books like it are very important to read and research for yourself. I highly recommend this book.

4 Stars

Some other observations, articles, videos & documentary

And because I am a nerd I have watched several documentaries about atomic waste, there are a lot of viewpoints out there so you can pick a side. I think it’s clear what side I am on, and living in my state this isn’t a popular side to be on. Just recently in the local news was this article “Radioactivedump site found in remote North Dakota town.” And of course there is no clean-up fund people are making jokes out of it and no one seems to be telling the truth about how this will affect peoples’ health in the future, and is this the only site that is out there because no one wants the waste?  But I am not trying to tell you how to believe I am just giving my 2 cents after reading this book and the things it made me wonder about and research.

Here is the author talking about her book and being downwind of Rocky Flats

Watch the Rocky Flats Legacy Documentary HERE: it is only 20 min. long and well worth your time.


  1. This sounds like a good one, Susie. Very interesting story. Going on my TBR list. :)

    Lee Ann

  2. It was fascinating for sure!
    And this was just in the news More Oil Socks Discarded in Divide County--these things catch waste that can be radioactive it is so scary and they are just leaving them wherever they can find to dump them!