— California Woolsey fire burns nuclear meltdown site SSFL; Physicians for Social Responsibility responds to LA Magazine misinformation

From Physicians for Social Responsibility, Los Angeles

November 9, 2018

THE SANTA SUSANA FIELD LABORATORY (ROCKETDYNE) BURNED IN THE WOOLSEY FIRE, THREATENING TOXIC EXPOSURES FROM CONTAMINATED DUST, SMOKE, ASH AND SOIL. THE DEPARTMENT OF TOXIC SUBSTANCES CONTROL DENIES RISK THAT IT CREATED BY DELAYING THE LONG PROMISED CLEANUP.

For Immediate Release: November 9, 2018

Contact: Denise Duffield, 310-339-9676 or dduffield@psr-la.org, Melissa Bumstead 818-298-3192* or melissabumstead@sbcglobal.net,


Last night, the Woolsey fire burned the contaminated Santa Susana Field Laboratory (SSFL), a former nuclear and rocket engine testing site. Footage from local television showed flames surrounding rocket test stands, and the fire’s progress through to Oak Park indicates that much of the toxic site burned.

statement released by the California Dept. of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) said that its staff, “do not believe the fire has caused any releases of hazardous materials that would pose a risk to people exposed to the smoke.” The 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.

“We can’t trust anything that DTSC says,” said West Hills resident Melissa Bumstead, whose young daughter has twice survived leukemia that she blames on SSFL and who has mapped 50 other cases of rare pediatric cancers near the site. Bumstead organized a group called “Parents vs. SSFL” and launched a Change.org petition demanding full cleanup of SSFL that has been signed by over 410,000 people. “DTSC repeatedly minimizes risk from SSFL and has broken every promise it ever made about the SSFL cleanup. Communities throughout the state have also been failed by DTSC. The public has no confidence in this troubled agency,” said Bumstead.

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US govt won’t compensate Santa Susanna Field Laboratory workers exposed to radiation

Some experts say SSFL was the worst nuclear disaster in U.S. history.

April 18,2016

Highlights:

Department of Energy says only Santa Susana workers in Area IV could be exposed to radiation

But former nuclear workers say the system wasn’t so tidy and that they deserve medical compensation

Tales of sodium reactor waste dump, radioactive mist

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“LA’s Nuclear Secret” airs tonight 11 PM PDT, KNBC

From the Santa Susanna Work Group

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT
Tonight, KNBC Channel 4 will air the first segment of a year long investigation into the Santa Susana Field Laboratory during the 11 pm news. A second segment will run Tuesday evening. Click here to view a trailer for the series. 
We are also excited to announce that:
  • The KNBC investigation will be screened at the SSFL Work Group meeting on Thursday, followed by discussion with KNBC investigative reporter Joel Grover. producer Matthew Glasser, and community members and former workers featured in the investigation.
  • Pete Noyes, veteran Los Angeles newsman and producer of the NBC series in 1979 reported by Warren Olney that first disclosed the partial meltdown at SSFL, will speak about his decades of experience covering the story.
Remarkable new information about Boeing’s own extraordinarily high cancer risk estimates for SSFL contamination and its plans to not clean up the vast majority of the polluted soil will also be revealed. 
DON’T MISS THIS IMPORTANT SSFL WORK GROUP MEETING!  
Thursday, September 24, 6:30 PM
Simi Valley Cultural Arts Center
3050 E. Los Angeles Avenue, Simi Valley, CA 93065
We hope you will join us for some straight talk about SSFL and what you can do to ensure that it is fully cleaned up.
Please visit the SSFL website for reports on past meetings with presentations and videos as well as other useful information about the contamination at the site and status of cleanup.

To learn more visit http://www.ssflworkgroup.org or contact us at info@ssflworkgroup.org.


The Santa Susana Field Laboratory (SSFL), also known as Rocketdyne, is a former nuclear and rocket engine testing facility that is contaminated with radiological and chemical pollutants. The 2,850 acre site is near Simi Valley, Chatsworth, Canoga Park, Woodland Hills, West Hills, Westlake Village, Agoura Hills, Oak Park, Calabasas, and Thousand Oaks. For over twenty years, the Santa Susana Field Laboratory Work Group has served to keep the community informed about the contamination at SSFL and assure it is thoroughly cleaned up.
SSFL Work Group · 1409 Kuehner Drive, #3 · Simi Valley, CA 93063 · USA

Nuclear amnesia — U.S. Senate testimony by Daniel Hirsch

Testimony of Daniel Hirsch,
President of Committee to Bridge the Gap
18 September 2008

Before the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works

Full testimony:
http://www.committeetobridgethegap.org/pdf/Hirsch%20EPW%20Testimony.pdf

Excerpts:

SSFL [Santa Susanna Field Laboratory] is a good case study of problems at federal nuclear facilities throughout the country. The AEC/DOE [Atomic Energy Commission/Department of Energy] for decades operated these extraordinarily dangerous enterprises with little consideration for environmental regulation or protection of the public.They felt they were above the law, and the affected people nearby simply did not matter.

Corners were cut, rules bent, safety restrictions ignored. When accidents resulted, they were covered up.

Leaking high level waste tanks at Hanford, contamination from reactor accidents and improper waste disposal at INEEL, reprocessing failures at Savannah River, releases from Paducah and Oak Ridge and so many other nuclear sites—the story is always the same. Sloppy practices, inadequate attention to safety, lack of concern about the neighboring public, failure to be candid about problems—the result has been contamination that is amongst the biggest environmental insults this country has ever faced…

There are some who now argue for a revival of all things nuclear. They want scores more reactors. They want irradiated nuclear fuel to be reprocessed. They want breeder reactors to make even more plutonium.

But to do that, they need the country to experience a kind of nuclear amnesia.

They need us to forget the meltdown of the SRE [Sodium Reactor Experiment’, the explosion of the SL-1 [Idaho], the near-disaster of the N reactor [Hanford]. They need us to forget the immense contamination from the last time we tried reprocessing, the tens of billions of dollars it is costing to try to redress the damage from reprocessing at Hanford, Savannah River, and West Valley. They need us to forget the meltdown of the EBR-1 breeder in Idaho and Fermi I breeder, when we almost lost Detroit.

For those in the impacted communities from the last nuclear era, it all seems like nuclear déjà vu again. We hear echoes of all the old discredited claims again: that nuclear will be “too cheap to meter,” even as the industry asks for a hundred billion dollars in taxpayer subsidies and guarantees; that we will somehow find a solution to the radioactive waste problem, even though sixty-six years after the first reactor wastes were created no solution is in sight; that the risk of accident is non-existent, even as industry asks for immunity from liability from such accidents; that proliferation and terrorism risks can be ignored, even as we face a world in which countries are getting nuclear weapons from civil nuclear technology.

We hear the same old claims that nuclear is safe and clean;

yet our communities are still trying to get the government to clean up the radioactive contamination from all the past nuclear accidents, spills, and other releases from the last time we tried this.

It is said that those who forget the lessons of the past are condemned to repeat them, and repeat them, and repeat them. A sensible energy policy cannot depend upon collective amnesia. The last time we went down this road, it resulted in an unmitigated disaster for which we are still paying, in billions and billions of dollars of cleanup expenses, but more importantly, in poisoned land and water, and cancers in brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, cousins and nephews.

Let us learn from our mistakes rather than going blindly into repeating them. Otherwise, this deeply troubled nuclear past will indeed be prologue.