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Exposure to low doses of radiation may increase a person's risk of cancer. To help protect workers and the public against this risk, federal agencies set dose limits for power plants, issue guidance, and take other measures.
For about 40 years, the Department of Energy's Rocky Flats site, near Denver, served as a production facility that made plutonium triggers, or "pits," for nuclear weapons. That role resulted in radiological and chemical contamination of many of the site's buildings and its soil and water.
Power plants emit pollutants that have been linked to various negative health effects. In 2003, two new power plants, owned by Sempra Energy and Intergen, began operations 3 miles south of the U.S.-Mexico border near Imperial County, California.