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Government document collection on Rocky Flats and Rocky Mountain Arsenal

Identifier: COU:390

Scope and Contents

This collection contains publications on the Rocky Flats plant produced by the government including its agencies and departments. These include the U.S. Department of Energy, the Colorado Department of Health and Environment, the Environmental Protection Agency and others. Reports are also published by companies contracted to operate the plant, including EC&G, Rockwell International, and Dow Chemical. Topics covered include reports on plutonium, radiation, beryllium, toxicology, soil and air samples, wind-blown particles, cancer incidents, public responses and concerns, and other chemical and atmospheric reports. Many reports pertain to the cleanup and decommissioning of the site. The areas covered in include the Rocky Flats plant site, Standley Lake, Jefferson County and the greater Denver area.

There are also many uninventoried reports in this collection that pertain both to Rocky Flats and Rocky Mountain Arsenal.


  • Creation: 1950 - 2012

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Copyright Statement

The University Libraries do not own the copyright to this collection. Researchers are responsible for contacting the copyright holder(s) for this material and obtaining permission to publish or broadcast. The University Libraries will not grant permission to publish or broadcast this material and are not responsible for copyright violations resulting from such use.

Biographical / Historical

The Rocky Flats plant was built in 1951 and operated by Dow Chemical through a contract with the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) which later became the Department of Energy (DOE). The plant processed plutonium and manufactured bombs that were the successors to the bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Japan. These plutonium bombs are used to detonate or “trigger” much more powerful thermonuclear (hydrogen) bombs. During the plant’s operation, there were two major fires in 1957 and 1969. During the late 1960s and 1970s peace activist and environmental groups protested the plant’s continued operations. Facing concerns over mismanagement, including concerns over the how the plant was disposing of waste, the AEC ended the contract with Dow Chemical and began a contract with Rockwell International. After continuing concerns over waste management on the environment and the effects on a growing Denver population, the FBI began investigating plant activities, resulting in an FBI/Environmental Protection Agency raid on the plant in 1989. With the end of the Cold War and continued environmental concerns, the plant’s weapons manufacturing mission ended in 1992 and a lengthy cleanup began under EG&C and then Kaiser-Hill under contracts with the DOE. About 80 percent of the 10-square-mile site was transferred to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 2007.

Rocky Mountain Arsenal, located in Commerce City, Colorado, was a chemical weapons manufacturing center. It operated from 1942-1992, and produced mustard gas, napalm, white phosphorus, lewisite, chlorine gas, and sarin gas. In the early 1960s the U.S. Army leased out the site to private companies to produce pesticides. It was selected as a superfund site in the 1980s and work on the cleanup began.


85 linear feet

Language of Materials



This collection contains documents gathered by the CU Boulder Libraries Government Information Library related to Rocky Flats, the nuclear weapons facility, and Rocky Mountain Arsenal, a chemical weapons production facility.


The inventoried reports are arranged in the order they were received from the Government Information library. In addition to these reports there are many uninventoried reports.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

This collection was transferred to the Archives from CU Boulder Libraries Government Information Library.

This finding aid was created by Ashlyn Velte, 2020.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the University of Colorado Boulder Libraries, Rare and Distinctive Collections Repository

1720 Pleasant Street
184 UCB
Boulder Colorado 80503 United States