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By Mark Ackerman and Rick Sallinger

ARVADA, Colo. (CBS4)– The idea of living in Colorado’s nuclear shadow made David Wood uneasy. The longtime Colorado resident remembered Rocky Flats when it was a nuclear weapons facility and the huge environmental effort to dismantle it.

“It gave me great pause,” Wood said.

rocky flats scientist 3 Physicist Conducts Radiation Study Before Building Home Near Rocky Flats

David Wood (credit: CBS)

But, the history of Rocky Flats would not deter his dream of building a home nearby. Before he committed, he read all he could to educate himself about Rocky Flats. Government websites said the area was safe, but he found an equal number of detractors raising potential health concerns.

“To my horror, no clear message emerged,” he said.

rocky flats recreation 21 Physicist Conducts Radiation Study Before Building Home Near Rocky Flats

(credit: CBS)

So, the retired physics professor decided to launch a study of his own. He took three soil samples from the backyard of the lot he was considering purchasing and had them analyzed by the State Health Department.

“They came back consistent with no plutonium at all.”

rocky flats scientist 2 Physicist Conducts Radiation Study Before Building Home Near Rocky Flats

(credit: CBS)

Then Wood bought a Geiger counter and took his own radiation readings, near Rocky Flats and in other sites around the state.

PHOTO GALLERY: Rocky Flats: Through The Years

“The rates that I measured were entirely consistent with background radiation from all over Colorado,” he said.

rocky flats scientist Physicist Conducts Radiation Study Before Building Home Near Rocky Flats

(credit: CBS)

Through his research, Wood was convinced building a home near Rocky Flats was safe.

ROCKY FLATS – COLORADO’S NUCLEAR SHADOW: Visit CBS4’s Special Section

“Namely, the cleanup had been successful and there were no hazards I could detect.”

rocky flats scientist1 Physicist Conducts Radiation Study Before Building Home Near Rocky Flats

David Wood (credit: CBS)

Now, Wood is concerned about people raising fear about the safety of his new community.

“The public forums were completely disrupted by people with no quantitative point to make,” he said, “flinging their arms around in anxiety and saying this could happen, that could happen.”

rocky flats scientist 4 Physicist Conducts Radiation Study Before Building Home Near Rocky Flats

Drone4 flies over Candelas (credit: CBS)

Wood said the issue is pretty much settled.

“At the end of this process I concluded that what I read in federal reports and state reports was actually true,” he said. “This isn’t rocket science.”

rocky flats scientist 6 Physicist Conducts Radiation Study Before Building Home Near Rocky Flats

David Wood (credit: CBS)

Mark Ackerman is a Special Projects Producer at CBS4. Follow him on Twitter @ackermanmark

CBS4’s Rick Sallinger is a Peabody award winning reporter who has been with the station more than two decades doing hard news and investigative reporting. Follow him on Twitter @ricksallinger.

Comments
  1. The dangerous truth about Plutonium is that it’s an alpha emitter and isn’t picked up by a Geiger counter. I’m sure David Wood understands that, as it is elementary physics. From David Bradley’s 1948 book, “No Place to Hide,” “If they (alpha particles) emanate from substances lodged withing the body, they can do great damage and even prove ultimately fatal.”

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