Yellowcake Road: Cotter Corporation's Unfortunate Journey from Nuclear Production to Nuclear Waste Recycle

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AuthorHouse, Sep 4, 2009 - History - 116 pages
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These are but a few of my recollections of the Cotter Mill from its 1958 Fremont County, Colorado inauguration to the year 2000 when General Atomics obtained the mill, four sections of industrial and rural real estate, assets and obligations for the sum of $1,000,000, or the value of a couple of neighboring homes. Contrary to popular opinion, early Cotter was not welcomed with open arms by Canon City society. As a matter of fact early employees were openly referred to as, "The unwelcome foreign element." Individual and collective efforts changed the atmosphere, especially when Cotter conveyed bargain basement priced water to a beleaguered private golf course. (29) Lynn Boughton was Cotter's Assistant Chief Chemist from 1958 to 1964 and Chief Chemist until he resigned in 1979. Lynn was my husband. We were in love and happily married for fifty-two years. We were also business partners, best friends, and sounding boards. On the subject of Cotter, Lynn talked-I listened; especially when our real estate was included in a Super Fund site, when his illness appeared related to nuclear exposure, and even more closely when his illness was proven to be indisputably caused by working with nuclear material; an illness that took his life in 2001. My memory is reasonably good, but certainly not flawless. My comments should not be taken as fact but as probably not too far wrong. After Lynn's death, I donated thousands of his documents to The University of Colorado Boulder Archives. ***** The future rests on the past but new ownerships, new administration, new bureaucracies always believe they start with a "clean slate" ignoring the past as they persist in repeating the same mistakes. In dealing with nuclear materials, mistakes affect, not only fortunes, but the health and property of neighbors and future generations. Deyon Boughton

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About the author (2009)

A few years after Lynn died, Deyon sold the Lincoln Park home they had lived in for forty-seven years and moved to a comfortable neighborhood in Florence.  There she can be found working in her yard, reading, writing, working out at a gym, walking her dogs, Maggie and Jiggs, enjoying Sunday morning breakfast with friends and E-mailing grandmotherly advice to grandchildren.   

Deyon wrote Yellow Cake Road because, throughout the years, she has heard many stories about early Cotter from people who were not there or could not possibly have known and were frequently wrong.  She felt Cotter has been and is an important part of Fremont County and Colorado and that the story needed to be told.

Whistle-blowing was the last thing Boughtons would have ever thought of but it became something they could not avoid.   Later, when a young friend told of a concern and asked if he should become a whistle blower, he was told, “Don’t unless you cannot not.”  Boughtons found themselves involved with a community issue they could not not act upon.

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