Vision Without Fission

Posted on Jul 28, 2012 in Upcoming Events | Comments Off on Vision Without Fission

August 4: Santa Fe, NM. Kristen will be speaking at the Center for Contemporary Arts in Santa Fe with speakers including Arjun Makhijani, President of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research; Bill Hartung, senior research professor at the New America Foundation and expert on weapons proliferation; Cynthia Jurs, Buddhist teacher and peace activist, and others. 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. Kristen speaks from 11:15-12:30. August 5: Ashley Pond Park, Los Alamos National Labs, NM. Kristen will be speaking at an all-day event that includes speakers, music, teach-ins, and information tables, including a moment of silence in recognition of the exact time the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima 67 years ago (with an audio link to the commemoration event in Hiroshima). Followed by a ceremonial floating of lanterns of Ashley...

Read More

The Nation

Posted on Jul 26, 2012 in Excerpts | Comments Off on The Nation

At the top of the hill behind our house stands the Arvada cemetery. The year 1863 is etched in a stone marker at the entrance. The cemetery works like a magnet. As soon as our mother puts us out into the yard for the afternoon—just like the kids and grandkids on the family farm back in Iowa, who were expected to fend for themselves for the day—my  sisters and I scramble over the fence and head for the hill. We trek across the field behind the row of backyards and  through the old apple orchard and get up to the creek, where we balance a flat plank across the shallow, sluggish water  and tiptoe across. At the crest of the hill stand row after row of headstones. Some have the names of children or images  of their faces etched in the stone, and we stay away from those. We look down the hill to our house and imagine our mother, big and round, lying  on her bed and waiting for the next baby, a boy at last, she’s sure of it. A little farther, we can see the Arvada Villa Pizza Parlor and the Arvada Beauty Academy. Between our neighborhood and the long, dark line of mountains stands a single white water tower, all by itself.   Kristen Iversen’s excerpt of FULL BODY BURDEN in The Nation, June 11, 2012...

Read More

Reader’s Digest

Posted on Jul 26, 2012 in Excerpts | Comments Off on Reader’s Digest

Each morning over coffee, I scour the want ads. It’s 1994; I’m a single mother and graduate student who needs a job with  flexible hours. And then, there it is, a large ad: administrative skills, flexible hours, $12.92 an hour. The Rocky Flats  Environmental Technology Site is hiring. Start immediately, it says. Environmental Technology Site? It used to be known as the Rocky Flats nuclear weapons facility. When I was growing up nearby, my family and most of our neighbors thought Rocky Flats made household-cleaning supplies. In fact, Rocky Flats secretly produced plutonium triggers or  “pits” for nuclear bombs—some 70,000 plutonium triggers over the course of more than 30 years (see timeline). By the late 1970s, as the truth began to spread, people protested at the bomb plant and worried about radioactive and toxic  waste in surrounding neighborhoods. Plutonium-trigger production ended in 1989 after the FBI and EPA raided the plant, leading to a grand jury investigation (which was eventually thwarted). Still, the site remained open, and a new company, EG&G, took over. But in ’94 I don’t know all this. . . .   Kristen Iversen’s, July 12, 2012 excerpt of FULL BODY BURDEN in Reader’s Digest...

Read More

Map of Area Around Rocky Flats

Posted on Jul 24, 2012 in Slow Fire | Comments Off on Map of Area Around Rocky Flats

This is another image that may be useful to people who live near Rocky Flats or in the Denver metro area.

Read More

The plume of the 1957 fire at Rocky Flats

Posted on Jul 19, 2012 in Slow Fire | Comments Off on The plume of the 1957 fire at Rocky Flats

Readers have asked me to post the chart showing the plume from the devastating 1957 fire at Rocky Flats. Two years after this fire, the surrounding area showed an increase in childhood leukemia and other cancers and health effects. Contamination from the 1969 Mother’s Day fire followed a similar path.

Read More

The 1969 Mother’s Day fire

Posted on Jul 16, 2012 in Slow Fire | Comments Off on The 1969 Mother’s Day fire

Audience response to the section of Full Body Burden about the 1969 Mother’s Day fire. The May 11, 1969 “Mother’s Day” fire at Rocky Flats brought the Denver metro area to the brink of a catastrophic nuclear accident, and sent a radioactive cloud over the entire area. Residents were not warned or evacuated, and even after the fire, few people were aware of how devastating the fire was, and its long-term consequences for the Denver area. Later, tests by the DOE and independent scientists confirmed plutonium contamination as far away as 30 miles from the...

Read More

In Santa Fe

Posted on Jul 15, 2012 in Slow Fire | Comments Off on In Santa Fe

At Collected Works in Santa Fe. Great crowd, with great questions.

Read More

Book Tour photos, continued. In Santa Fe!

Posted on Jul 15, 2012 in Slow Fire | Comments Off on Book Tour photos, continued. In Santa Fe!

At Collected Works bookstore It was such a treat to read at Collected Works in Santa Fe, a long-time favorite bookstore, and afterwards go out for blue corn enchiladas and margaritas.

Read More

Book Tour photos, continued. In Oregon!

Posted on Jul 15, 2012 in Slow Fire | Comments Off on Book Tour photos, continued. In Oregon!

At Powell’s bookstore. A great crowd, with good questions. The story of Rocky Flats is not just about Colorado. It’s a story that’s happening all over the country at places like Hanford, the Savannah River site, and many more. People who live near former nuclear weapons sites, current radioactive/toxic storage sites, and nuclear power plants have the same concerns: how is the environment being affected? What does this mean for my health, and the health of my family? Can I trust the government and the private corporations who manage these sites to tell me the...

Read More

Book Tour Photos: Daniel Ellsberg

Posted on Jul 12, 2012 in Slow Fire | Comments Off on Book Tour Photos: Daniel Ellsberg

With Daniel Ellsberg at Book Passage One of the big highlights of my book tour–and certainly one of the highlights of my life–was to be introduced by Daniel Ellsberg at my reading at Book Passage in Corte Madera (San Francisco area). Afterwards we had lunch and a lengthy talk. It was a great honor and pleasure to spend time with such an extraordinary person. Rocky Flats was a big part of Ellsberg’s life and work. I also had the great pleasure to spend a little time with my dear friend Molly Giles, a wonderful novelist and director of the MFA program at the University of Arkansas. (She believed in my book from the very first paragraph; she is a great inspiration to me!) Andy Ross joined us, too. I first met Andy at the San Miguel de Allende writers conference, where we shared a little tequila and talked about writers and writing. Andy was owner and manager of Cody’s Books in Berkeley for almost thirty years, and now has his own literary agency. The best thing about a book tour is connecting with readers, writers, and...

Read More