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DOE Certifies Rocky Flats Cleanup "Complete"

December 8, 2005 - 4:45pm

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Golden, CO - Deputy Secretary of Energy Clay Sell announced today that the environmental cleanup of the former Rocky Flats site has been certified complete by the U.S. Department of Energy.  Certification marks the final step in the DOE's successful effort to clean up and eventually turn over the former weapons production site for use as a National Wildlife Refuge. 

"With today's announcement, the cleanup chapter of Rocky Flats' history is closed, while another equally important chapter is just being opened," said Deputy Secretary Sell.   "This successful cleanup represents a triumph of determination and spirit of cooperation that stands as an example for the other similar projects around the country."

Between 1951 and 1989, Rocky Flats produced the trigger mechanism for nearly every nuclear weapon built in the United States. Following curtailment of operations in 1989, the Department of Energy began the work of cleaning up significant amounts of radioactive waste, materials and contamination that remained at the site.

In the early 1990's, cleanup was projected to cost more than $37 billion and was expected to take at least 70 years.   With today's announcement, cleanup has been completed 56 years ahead of schedule at a cost of approximately $7 billion, saving American taxpayers approximately $29 billion.

During the ceremony held at the Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, CO, Deputy Secretary Sell and Senator Wayne Allard (R-CO) unveiled a plaque which will be mounted on a boulder and permanently displayed at the former weapons site.   The plaque reads:

"Dedicated to the Rocky Flats workers and community in commemoration of the cleanup and closure of the Rocky Flats site and for the critical contributions made to America's national and environmental security."

Over the next year, the Energy Department will finalize regulatory requirements and prepare to transfer approximately 5,200 acres of the site to the Department of the Interior to be managed as a national wildlife refuge. Approximately 1,000 acres in the center of the site will be retained by DOE for long-term surveillance and maintenance.

Media contact(s):

Mike Waldron, 202/586-4940

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