This article first appeared in the Broomfield Enterprise.
During the Cold War, when U.S. foreign policy centered around the nuclear arms race with the U.S.S.R., the federal government decided that weapons components should be built at separate sites. One location selected in 1951 was a windswept plateau between Highway 93 and Indiana Street in northern Jefferson County. There, the government contracted Dow Chemical to operate the high-security Rocky Flats Nuclear Weapons Plant, which manufactured plutonium triggers — a “steel or beryllium sphere containing plutonium 239 that triggers nuclear fission when compressed by explosives.” (freedictionary.com). The triggers were shipped to another plant in Texas where they assembled hydrogen bombs. Continue reading