The Santa Susana Field Laboratory (SSFL or Rocketdyne), north of Los Angeles, burned in the November 2018 Woolsey Fire, threatening toxic exposures from contaminated dust, smoke, ash, and soil. In the 1940s, SSFL with its 10 experimental nuclear reactors was developed for research and weapons testing. In 1959, it suffered an uncontained partial meltdown of at least one sodium reactor referred to by experts as the worst nuclear disaster in U.S history, and the fourth largest release of iodine-131 in the history of nuclear power. Until 1979 the incident and the toxic waste byproduct that still pollutes the ground water, air, and soil was kept secret.
The California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) denied risk from the fire that it created by delaying the long promised cleanup. Their statement failed to assuage community concerns given DTSC’s longtime pattern of misinformation about SSFL’s contamination and its repeated broken promises to clean it up.
Jessica Aldridge from SoCal 350 and Adventures in Waste discusses the issues with Denise Duffield, Associate Director of Physicians for Social Responsibility-Los Angeles, and Melissa Bumstead, Mother and local advocate, and a founder of Parents Against Santa Susana Field Lab.
No More Kids With Cancer: Clean Up the Santa Susana Field Lab Petition: https://www.change.org/p/no-more-kids-with-cancer-clean-up-the-santa-susana-field-lab
Interview by Jessica Aldridge from SoCal 350 and Adventures in Waste.
Host and Engineer: JP Morris
Executive Producer: Mark Morris
Photo: Getty Images/ Sandy Huffaker
Updated 21 December 2018