From Physicians for Social Responsibility, Los Angeles
November 12, 2018
See website for more photos
From Physicians for Social Responsibility, Los Angeles
November 12, 2018
See website for more photos
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, Melissa Bumstead 818-298-3192* or email@example.com,
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.
A 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.
From the Santa Susana Field Laboratory Work Group
February 13, 2017
“Unless people rise up and our elected officials act strongly to enforce the promises, people in neighboring communities will be at perpetual risk from migrating radioactivity and toxic chemicals.” Read New Ventura County Star Op-Ed: Santa Susana Field Lab Broken Promises
The Department of Energy (DOE) is attempting to break its obligation to clean up all of the nuclear and chemical contamination at the Santa Susana Field Laboratory (SSFL), proposing instead to leave between 34 -94% of the contamination not cleaned up. That is dangerous and unacceptable!
Urgent action is needed to protect communities near SSFL!
1. Attend one or both of the upcoming DOE hearings and voice your concerns.
2. Submit a comment demanding that DOE clean up all contamination at SSFL.
The DOE recently released a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) that proposes three alternative cleanup plans for its operational area of SSFL, which is where most of the nuclear contamination is located. The three alternatives would respectively leave up to 34%, 86% or up to 94% of the contamination on site, where it can continue to migrate and put nearby communities at risk.
All of the alternatives directly violate the Administrative Order on Consent (AOC) that DOE signed in 2010, which committed them to clean up all detectable contamination. DOE’s DEIS also fails to acknowledge that DOE as the polluter doesn’t have the authority to decide how much of the mess that it made is going to get cleaned up. The decision rests with the California Department of Toxic Substances Control, not DOE.
Click here to learn more about key problems with DOE’s DEIS. Click here to read the DEIS itself. Again, it is critical that as many people as possible attend the DOE hearings and submit comments demanding a full cleanup of SSFL. Thank you!.
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-five 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.
For action and upcoming meetings, go to http://www.ssflworkgroup.org
From the Ventura County Star
February 11, 2017
Our region has just been hit by two significant events that affect the health of our community.
While we have long awaited some relief for our drought, torrential rainstorms inundated the Santa Susana Field Lab, one of the most polluted places in the state. Runoff from far lesser storms in recent years resulted in more than 200 instances in which highly toxic and radioactive contaminants migrated off site at levels in excess of state pollution limits, and one can only imagine the effect these recent large storms have had.
Around the same time, the Department of Energy broke its solemn cleanup commitments and announced it would leave as much as 94 percent of the soil contaminated at the field lab site not cleaned up. Unless people rise up and our elected officials act strongly to enforce the promises, people in neighboring communities will be at perpetual risk from migrating radioactivity and toxic chemicals.
The field lab housed 10 nuclear reactors, of which at least four suffered accidents, including a partial nuclear meltdown in 1959. There was a factory for fabricating reactor fuel rods out of plutonium, perhaps the most dangerous substance on earth. In a “hot lab” there, highly irradiated nuclear fuel rods shipped in from around the nation were cut apart, with several radioactive fires.
It illegally burned radioactive and chemically hazardous wastes in open air pits, by shooting barrels of the waste with rifles to ignite them, with the toxic plumes blown over surrounding communities. It conducted tens of thousands of rocket tests, many using very dangerous fuels, and then flushed out the engines with a million gallons of toxic solvents that were allowed to simply percolate into the soil and groundwater.
The result of this shameful violation of basic environmental protections is widespread contamination of groundwater, surface water and soil with strontium-90, cesium-137, plutonium-239, perchlorate, PCBs, dioxins, heavy metals, volatile organic compounds and much more. And because the site sits in the hills overlooking more than 500,000 people within 10 miles, the contamination wants to flow off site to the places and people below.
The site has been fined more than $1 million in recent years for allowing pollutants to migrate off the property at levels deemed unsafe for people or the environment. And as long as the site doesn’t get cleaned up, that will continue.
These awful materials cause cancers including leukemia, genetic defects, neurological and developmental disorders and other health problems. A federally funded study by Dr. Hal Morgenstern of the University of Michigan found a greater than 60 percent increase in key cancers in people living near the site compared with people living farther away. Another government-funded study by a team from UCLA led by Dr. Yoram Cohen concluded that numerous pollutants from the site had migrated off site at levels in excess of EPA levels of concern.
For these reasons, the community was joyous in 2010 when the Department of Energy and NASA signed legally binding agreements with the California Department of Toxic Substances Control requiring all contamination that could be detected in the soil to be cleaned up by 2017.
It is now 2017 and the cleanup hasn’t even begun. And the DOE just issued a draft environmental impact statement breaking the 2010 cleanup agreement and saying it will only consider three options, none of which comply with its past commitments.
One would leave 34 percent of the contamination in place. A second would leave 86 percent. And the third would walk away from a staggering 94 percent of the contaminated soil, just leaving it in place. The 2010 agreement barred any consideration of leave-in-place alternatives.
The DOE has essentially thumbed its nose at California. Even if the cleanup agreement didn’t exist, the decision on how much toxic pollution to clean up doesn’t rest with the polluter, but with the state regulator. The DOE can’t decide to just walk away from most of the contamination.
But the state has been remarkably silent so far in response to this assault on its authority. Indeed, it has in its own actions undercut the cleanup agreement it signed. Toxic Substances Control is years late on its own environmental impact report and has been busy undermining the cleanup in other ways as well.
In 2010, we were promised that, with a couple of narrow exceptions, all of the soil contamination that could be detected would be cleaned up. Now it appears likely than close to none will be, and the people in the area will continue to be at perpetual risk from migrating radioactive and toxic contamination — unless they speak out now, loud and clear, and their elected representatives do the same.
Robert Dodge, a family physician in Ventura, serves on the boards of Physicians for Social Responsibility, the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation and Citizens for Peaceful Resolutions. Daniel Hirsch is director of the Program on Environmental and Nuclear Policy at UC Santa Cruz and president of the Committee to Bridge the Gap.
Posted under Fair Use Rules.
A strange lighthearted title and article in the LA Times attempting to distract the public from yet another dead humpback whale. The Monterey Herald has additional information on the whale.
From Monterey Herald
Dead whale towed off Los Angeles beach ahead of holiday
By John Antczak, Associated Press
July 1, 2016
…Tail markings were compared with a photo database and found that the same whale had been spotted three times previously off Southern California between June and August of last year by whale watchers who gave it the nickname Wally, said Alisa Schulman-Janiger, a whale research associate with the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.
At the time of the prior sightings the humpback was covered with whale lice, which usually means a whale is in poor physical condition, but it was also actively feeding and breaching, she said.
Schulman-Janiger said she noticed healed entanglement scars on its tail indicating that in the past it been snarled in some sort of fishing line. The carcass was in relatively good condition which meant the whale could have died as recently as Thursday morning, she said.
The whale was about 46 feet long and at least 15 years old, meaning it had reached maturity, said Justin Greenman, stranding coordinator for the National Marine Fisheries Service.
Skin and blubber samples were taken for DNA testing along with fecal matter to be tested for biotoxins.
The experts had hoped to more extensively open up the whale but due to the holiday weekend authorities decided to get it off the beach as soon as possible, Greenman said.
North Pacific humpbacks feed along the West Coast from California to Alaska during summer, according to the Marine Mammal Center, a Sausalito-based ocean conservation organization. Although the species’ numbers are extensively depleted, humpbacks have been seen with increasing frequency off California in recent years, the center’s website said.
Humpbacks, familiar to whale watchers for their habits of breaching and slapping the water, are filter feeders that consume up to 3,000 pounds of krill, plankton and tiny fish per day, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The whale that washed up is not the same one spotted earlier in the week off Southern California tangled in crab pot lines. That animal was identified as a blue whale. Efforts by a rescue crew in a small boat to cut away the line failed, and it disappeared.
From Los Angeles Times
Wally the whale is towed out to sea a day after washing ashore
by Joseph Serna and Alexia Fernandez
July 1, 2016
Video on website
ally the whale was towed into the sea by two Los Angeles County lifeguard boats Friday evening at Dockweiler State Beach, just a day after he washed ashore.
Carol Baker, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors, said the carcass was taken into the water about 6:30 p.m.
”It took a while, but the high tide during the evening helped us into getting it back into the water,” she said.
Thousands of beachgoers were expected to arrive for the long Fourth of July weekend, making it a priority for workers to tow the carcass back into the water were it could properly decompose.
“It’s starting to smell … and decompose pretty rapidly,” said Los Angeles County Lifeguard Capt. Ken Haskett.
The 45-foot-long, 22-ton whale carcass washed ashore about 8 p.m. Thursday, Haskett said. The male cetacean was between 10 and 20 years old when he died, the county lifeguard department tweeted.
Biologists with the National Marine Fisheries Service visited the carcass before noon Friday and identified the creature as a humpback that was tagged in August. The whale’s name, they said, was Wally.
Already, Wally’s arrival on the beach has created a blubbery spectacle, and county crews say they are eager to have him removed.
Officials asked the public to stay 200 feet away from the carcass Friday, and onlookers crowded along the the edge of the taped perimeter to watch researchers and county work crews deal with the whale.
Lifeguards, working with the county’s Department of Beaches and Harbors, decided to tow the carcass far out to sea, where it will be clear of shipping lanes and where currents will keep it away from the beach. Natural decomposition and marine life will do the rest, Haskett said.
Crews used a tractor to build a sand berm on the land side of the whale, then slowly pushed the berm — and the carcass – into the ocean. From there, a line was tied around the whale’s tail (the strongest part of its body) and boats would pull it at least six miles off the coast, Haskett said.
Towing the carcass avoids the more grisly and gross option of chopping it up and shipping it to a landfill or burying it, officials said. (In April, a 50,000-pound gray whale washed up at San Onofre State Beach, drawing scores of onlookers. The whale ultimately was cut up by excavators and hauled away in dump trucks.)
As workers made preparations to remove Wally on Friday afternoon, 10-month-old Selena De La Cruz sat with her parents and thumped her small fists into the dark, wet sand. She grinned happily, oblivious to the wonder on her parents’ faces as they looked at the dead humpback whale 15 feet away from where they sat.
“It’s already getting a fishy, fishy smell,” said her father, Michael De La Cruz, 25. The girl’s mother, Reina Saucedo, 25, snapped away with her iPhone camera.
“Should we go?” De La Cruz asked.
“No, I want to take one of you two with the whale in the background,” Saucedo said.
The family had driven from Carson to Dockweiler at 7 a.m., and never intended to meet the carcass of a whale.
“We just wanted to get out of the house today,” Saucedo said. “Our daughter loves the beach, and when we saw the whale, we tried showing her, but obviously she doesn’t understand.”
Posted under Fair Use Rules.
Compiled by ENE News
New York Times, Aug 24, 1994 (emphasis added): U.S. Nuclear Accident in 1965 Was Staged, Documents Show — The Atomic Energy Commission staged a nuclear rocket accident in the Nevada desert in 1965 that sent a radioactive cloud more than 200 miles to Los Angeles, documents released today showed… [Details] were discovered in archival documents from the Energy Department, as part of a continuing inquiry into the Government’s secretive human radiation experiments… Jan. 12, 1965, in Jackass Flats, Nev., part of a rocket’s nuclear core was intentionally vaporized so that scientists could study the behavior of the reactor and the environmental effects of the radiation, the documents showed… [C]onsiderably more people were exposed than in other experiments because the cloud traveled so far, [Congressman Edward Markey] said. The cloud was tracked by aircraft, and increased radioactivity… was observed in Barstow, San Bernadino, Los Angeles and San Diego…
U.S. Dept. of Energy (pdf), 1995: Human Radiation Experiments… The Kiwi Transient Nuclear Test… involved a controlled nuclear excursion resulting in partial vaporization of the reactor core. This created a radioactive plume that, while low in radioactivity, was detectable far off-site… The U.S. Public Health Service monitored the cloud to beyond 200 miles downwind, which extended to Los Angeles and the Pacific Ocean.
Los Alamos National Laboratory of the University of California (pdf), 1968: Environmental Effects of the Kiwi-TNT Effluent — The Kiwi Transient Nuclear Test (Kiwi-TNT) was a controlled excursion… to vaporize a significant portion of the reactor core. The test studied… environmental effects of the radioactive materials released… The U.S. Public Health Service [USPHS] monitored the neighborhood and collected milk samples in southern… California to beyond 200 miles downwind. The course of the effluent cloud was tracked by aircraft… From 5 to 20% of the reactor core was vaporized with approximately 67% of the products from about 3 x 10^20 fissions released to the effluent cloud… USPHS provided offsite radiation surveillance by aerial tracking of the effluent cloud, monitoring radiation dosage of the off-site population, and collecting environmental samples in southern Nevada and California… Following the test… milk samples were collected… 14 locations in southern California. The milk sampling program continued for approximately a week. Vegetation samples were obtained… [Aircraft] tracked the effluent cloud from Death Valley over the Los Angeles area and terminated contact over the Pacific Ocean… The weather at the time of the test fulfilled the desired conditions… The winds were northeasterly [blowing to southwest] at all levels, ranging from 14 to 27 knots… The Kiwi-TNT reactor was “exploded” in the sense that it was a violent disruption and dispersion of an originally intact object. It blew up in an unusual fashion… Because the Kiwi-TNT was a unique, controlled simulation of a phenomenon frequently called a maximum credible reactor accident, there was great interest in the radiological characteristics and effects of the effluent many miles from the test point… The USPHS documented the effects of the long-range effluent cloud on the people and agriculture downwind. [Personnel] observed the radioactive cloud shortly after it reached California and again as it reached the Pacific Ocean… At 11 hours 20 minutes after the Kiwi-TNT event… aircraft again attempted to locate the effluent cloud… Positive signals were received over the ocean from Los Angeles to near Santa Barbara… [Several hours later] it returned to the previous search area and again detected weak, but positive signals… A few days after… officials observed increased radioactivity in routine air samples from the Barstow, San Bernardino. Los Angeles, and San Diego, California, areas…