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 .pdf