The Rocky Flats nuclear weapons plant churned out a staggering 70,000 atomic bombs, known as “triggers,” for the U.S. nuclear arsenal. Behind a veil of government secrecy, fires, leaks, and illicit dumping of hazardous materials contaminated the Denver area with radioactive and toxic substances. 

In 1969, a significant plutonium fire marked a turning point, prompting a group of local citizens to embark on a grassroots campaign to unveil the imminent threat of nuclear weapons production at Rocky Flats. By 1978, the protests had grown to massive levels, attracting thousands of people who demanded the closure of the plant. "

Mass protests continued for over a decade and reached a pivotal moment in 1989, when the FBI executed an unprecedented raid at Rocky Flats, effectively shuttering the bomb plant. The extraordinary raid uncovered evidence of environmental contamination, conspiracy, and cover-ups. However, a special federal grand jury was thwarted when they attempted to hold officials accountable.

A ten-year multi-billion-dollar cap-and-cover effort was declared complete in 2005, and a national wildlife refuge now overlays the Rocky Flats site. "The Most Dangerous Buildings In America" rest silently beneath six feet of soil at the center of the refuge, concealing a landscape still saturated with residual contamination.

Today, the radioactive legacy of Rocky Flats is invisible to the naked eye. New housing developments are engulfing areas known to be contaminated with radioactive plutonium. Thousands of former Rocky Flats workers have suffered devastating consequences from radiation contamination. Community members are determined to uncover a potential link between Rocky Flats and alarming health reports in the surrounding neighborhoods. Numerous lawsuits, continued deception, health concerns, and ongoing contamination issues continue to plague Rocky Flats, yet the public is largely unaware of Rocky Flats' past and its long-lasting radioactive effects. State and Federal officials claim the area is safe, however, the lasting repercussions of Rocky Flats on the Denver area remain uncertain, as plutonium has a half-life of 24,000 years


Select Interviews

Topic Summary

The U.S. production of nuclear weapons has left a lingering legacy of contaminated lands and peoples. Over 300 facilities across the nation have contributed to building the U.S. nuclear arsenal. Accidents have plagued the weapons complex, leaving workers, nearby residents, and surrounding environments contaminated with radioactive and hazardous wastes.

The most notorious instances of contamination, neglect, and coverups occurred at the Rocky Flats Nuclear Weapons Plant, near Denver, Colorado. The Rocky Flats Plant was the central nuclear bomb production facility in the United States. Workers produced an estimated 70,000 atomic bombs destined for thermonuclear warheads.

The Rocky Flats plant was shuttered, and nuclear arms were reduced globally thanks largely to the heroic acts of ordinary citizens. Now, the U.S. has embarked on a new nuclear era that will cost trillions of dollars and have incalculable risks.

Through extraordinary archival footage and powerful testimonials, HALF-LIFE OF MEMORY not only unveils the shocking truth about Rocky Flats' operations and contamination but also prompts crucial questions about the consequences of the nation's renewed nuclear weapons build-up and the urgent need for public awareness.


Follow Us

Half-Life of Memory