Judge won’t bar public from refuge that was once part of nuclear weapons plant

DENVER -- A judge has rejected a request to bar the public from a wildlife refuge that was once part of a nuclear weapons plant.

The judge on Thursday refused to issue an order that would have kept Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge in Jefferson County off-limits while the courts hear a lawsuit claiming the government hasn't studied public safety closely enough.

The lawsuit, filed by environmental and community activists, is pending.

Rocky Flats was the site of a government plant that manufactured plutonium triggers for nuclear bombs from 1952 until 1989.

The area where plutonium was processed underwent a $7 billion cleanup but remains closed to the public. A buffer zone surrounding the manufacturing site was turned into a refuge.

The government plans to open some trails in September.