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Rocky Flats Closure Project: Lessons Learned in Worker Stakeholder Engagement

[+] Author Affiliations
Laura Sweeney

Des Moines Area Community College, Ankeny, IA

Robert E. Mazur

Iowa State University, Ames, IA

Martin Edelson

Ames Laboratory-USDOE, Ames, IA

Paper No. ICEM2013-96327, pp. V002T05A013; 8 pages
doi:10.1115/ICEM2013-96327
From:
  • ASME 2013 15th International Conference on Environmental Remediation and Radioactive Waste Management
  • Volume 2: Facility Decontamination and Decommissioning; Environmental Remediation; Environmental Management/Public Involvement/Crosscutting Issues/Global Partnering
  • Brussels, Belgium, September 8–12, 2013
  • Conference Sponsors: Nuclear Engineering Division, Environmental Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5602-4
  • Copyright © 2013 by ASME

abstract

The Rocky Flats Environmental Technology Site (EPA Superfund site near Denver, Colorado) produced plutonium components for nuclear weapons for the U.S. defense program. The facility shut down in 1989 and clean up began in 1992. To ensure safe remediation of inactive nuclear sites, site owners have begun to consult stakeholders more widely in recent years. The closure of Rocky Flats aimed to set the standard for stakeholder involvement in doing the work safely, complying with regulations/standards, in a cost-effective manner. We have studied, using ethnographic methods, the extent to which workers at Rocky Flats were involved in communication and decision making strategies. Our results point out that workers can have perceptions of the site remediation process that differ from management and even other workers and that a significant number of workers questioned the commitment by management to engage the worker as stakeholder. The most effective remediation efforts should involve careful consideration of the insights and observations of all workers, particularly those who face immediate and high-level health and safety risks.

Copyright © 2013 by ASME

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