Debate over safety near nuclear waste site

Posted at 9:00 PM, Sep 14, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-14 23:00:08-04

Hiking near a nuclear dump site? It's happening.

The public is now going to be allowed access to the Rocky Flats Wildlife Refuge, near the former nuclear site.

After contamination, decades of cleanup, and billions of dollars spent, officials say Rocky Flats is safe for the public.

"The contaminant levels there are below any regulatory concern," Carl Spreng of the Colorado Health Department said.

The Health Department has cleared the site, transferring control to the US Fish and Wildlife Service, but there are still those who call the refuge a threat to public health.

"It should be studied and our group is asking for independent verification," activist Jon Lipsky said.

That includes Ted Ziegler, who worked at the plant for more than a decade, bringing his concerns to a meeting of government reps Monday morning.

"Plutonium or any other toxic or hazardous material is still on the plant site, it's just buried," he said.

But if you want to go hiking near the nuke site, the Health Department has the final say.

"Wildlife workers, wildlife visitors should have no concern about visiting and enjoying the wildlife there on the refuge."

For more information on hikes at Rocky Flats, head to