No Church Picnic

When the Rev. Gerry Kleba became senior associate pastor of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Dardenne Prairie, Mo. in 1999, he found many of his suburban parishioners were plagued by an unusually high infant mortality rate. Babies were dying from rare forms of cancer. He soon discovered Dardenne Creek is downstream from a former uranium processing plant operated for the Atomic Energy Commission by Mallinckrodt Chemical of St. Louis. His concerns spurred him to challenge the findings of state health officials and demand a comprehensive epidemiological study of the area. His efforts met resistance from housing developers, regional economic interests and the federal government. In this clip from the documentary film The First Secret City, Kleba summarizes the challenges of confronting the nuclear power structure.