DENVER (CN) — A $375 million settlement will end the Rocky Flats nuclear weapons plant’s 26-year legal battle with thousands of Colorado homeowners, if approved by a federal judge.
About 15,000 land- and homeowners in the Westminster and Arvada area will get damages from Dow Chemical Co. and Rockwell International Corp., co-owners of the Rocky Flats plant that made triggers for nuclear warheads during the Cold War.
Rocky Flats closed in 1989, after an FBI investigation found it had contaminated soil and groundwater with radioactive plutonium.
The cleanup cost $7 billion and took 16 years.
A class action filed in 1990, and settled on Thursday, May 19, determined Rockwell was liable for $244 million and Dow for $131 million.
The plant over more than 40,000 workers and operated for 40 years in flatlands a few miles outside of Arvada. Employees regularly handled plutonium and other radioactive agents to create detonators that were shipped Texas, where they were assembled into nuclear weapons.
Because the plant was operated for the U.S. Department of Energy, it is not yet clear how much the federal government will pay Dow and Rockwell for their liability.
Class attorneys and the Department of Energy did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
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