rocky flats arial view
Arial View 1995
end state rocky flats
Present Arial View

Rocky Flats History

The history of Rocky Flats is complex and multi-faceted.  No one book or article captures the different periods and many perspectives. The following resources help provide a snapshot of Rocky Flats. The list is not intended to be exhaustive but includes sources that are relatively easy to find.

Community Organizations
The Rocky Flats Citizens Advisory Board (CAB) was charted in 1993 to advise the Department of Energy on cleanup and closure issues. The CAB ceased operations in 2005. Click here for a copy of their Legacy Report.

The Rocky Flats Coalition of Local Governments included the seven local governments that surrounded Rocky Flats. Formed in 1999, the Coalition focused on the cleanup, closure and future use of Rocky Flats. It ceased operations in 2006. Click here for a copy of “From Cleanup to Closure: The History of the Rocky Flats Coalition of Local Governments”

The Rocky Flats Cold War Museum is dedicated to documenting the historical, environmental and scientific aspects of Rocky Flats, and to educate the public about Rocky Flats, the Cold War, and their legacies. The Museum seeks to accomplish this goal through preservation of key artifacts, and development of interpretive, educational, and outreach programs. For more information about the Museum please click here:

Library Resources

The University of Colorado at Boulder Archives have an extensive collection of Rocky Flats material, including files from the Rocky Flats Citizens Advisory Board, the Rocky Flats Coalition of Local Governments, and former state and federal elected officials; Rocky Flats site documents; state health department documents; independent studies; plus much more. Click here for the Archive website:

Online Resources
Rocky Flats Virtual Museum is an experimental, multimedia exhibit that seeks to educate and intrigue visitors. It examines a dramatic event at the Rocky Flats nuclear weapons plant. Click here for the Museum website:

The Department of Energy has a wealth of information about Rocky Flats. 

In 2006 DOE released a legacy report for Rocky Flats. The report captures and preserves analyses, strategies and decisions carried out at Rocky Flats in support of the accelerated closure effort. This lessons-learned report is designed to chronicle the full history of the closure effort, covering not only the technical and scientific matters typically addressed in lessons learned arenas, but also the policy and programmatic issues that were addressed during the course of accelerated closure. Click here to be directed to the report:

In 2003 Pat Buffer, an employee working for Kaiser-Hill, LLC, the prime cleanup contractors, drafted a history of Rocky Flats. Click here for a copy of her report:

The Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) was founded in 1969 by the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Library of Congress, and the National Park Service after it became apparent that industrial and engineering resources demanded a different sort of interdisciplinary documentation approach from that applied to historic architecture. HAER sets out to capture vanishing industrial and engineering treasures nationwide. In the quarter century since it's founding, HAER has accumulated documentation on over 4,500 historic industrial sites and structures representing a varied cross-section of America's industrial and technological heritage. Each site is preserved on paper in written historical reports, large format photographs, and sets of drawings to capture the significant characteristics of the site. The Rocky Flats report, which includes reports, photographs, and drawings are cover Rocky Flats from 1953 to 1992. Much of the early information came from current and former employees of the Plant. Click here for more information:

The Energy Communities Alliance’s report, “The Politics of Cleanup”, identifies lessons learned from the cleanup of Rocky Flats, Mound (Ohio) and Oak Ridge (Tennessee). The report focuses on the interaction between federal, state and local parties in addressing complex technical and political issues in federal environmental cleanups. For a copy of the report, please click here:

Len Ackland, Making a Real Killing: Rocky Flats and the Nuclear West (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1999). This well-documented history of the Rocky Flats plant during production years and the beginning of cleanup activities was written by the former editor of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists who now teaches journalism at the University of Colorado, Boulder.