Kristen Iversen spent years in Europe looking for things to write
about before realizing that biggest story she’d ever cover was in the
backyard where she grew up. Iversen spent her childhood in Colorado
close to the Rocky Flats nuclear weapons factory, playing in fields and
swimming in lakes and streams that it now appears were contaminated with
plutonium. Later, as a single mother, Iversen worked at the plant but
knew little of its environmental and health risks until she saw a
feature about it on Nightline.
Iversen’s new book, Full Body Burden: Growing up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats, is
in part a memoir about her troubled family, and also an investigation
into the decades-long environmental scandal involving nuclear
contamination in and around Rocky Flats. Weapons production ended there
after FBI agents raided the plant in 1989. Its operators later pleaded
guilty to criminal violations of environmental law.