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4.21.2015

Full Body Burden by Kristen Iverson

This was a pretty engrossing listen.  Iverson tells stories of her childhood growing up near Rocky Flats, Colorado, interspersed with facts about the Rocky Flats nuclear weapon facility.  

Probably one of the most disturbing take-aways from this book is the huge amount of plutonium released from the plant from fires and leakage; more than was used in either of the atomic bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  The irony; in order to 'protect' ourselves by creating these deadly weapons, we're in fact harming ourselves even more than our enemies.



And this plutonium isn't something to mess around with; just a fraction of a gram caught in a person's lung is enough to cause cancer.  Iverson accounts for the unusually high rates of cancer in the neighborhoods surrounding the Rocky Flats facility.

She also points out that all of the radioactive waste that's been created by the plant will still be around 24K years from now; an almost incomprehensible amount of time.  It's unclear how to communicate to these future generations the toxicity of this waste, since 24,000 years from now English may very well be obsolete.

This fact really gave me an epiphany about the corruption of this current generation.  Historically, we like to think of the Romans as barbaric.  But did they create highly toxic waste that will be around for 24K years?

This book is also deeply personal, as Iverson tells the story of growing up in a family with an alcoholic father, as well as relates her own experiences of working at Rocky Flats in an administrative position.

Definitely worth the read.

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