State Stumbles Over Illegal SSFL Radioactive Waste Disposal Allegations

SSFL Area IV Hot Zone with plutonium fuel fabrication facility in long flat building to right next to dirt lot

SSFL Area IV Hot Zone with plutonium fuel fabrication facility in long flat building to right next to dirt lot

Public Interest Groups Move Forward with Lawsuit

A hastily-arranged press conference call Tuesday revealed Cal-EPA Department of Toxic Substances Control’s strategy in dealing with revelations of illegally dumping and recycling radioactive material from the Santa Susana Field Laboratory (SSFL): feign outrage and boldly claim, without proof, that DTSC hadn’t done anything wrong.

Santa Monica-based Consumer Watchdog and a coalition of nuclear watchdog and environmental groups had delivered an ultimatum to the state department overseeing the controversial cleanup of SSFL Monday, August 5. It put DTSC on 24-hour notice that if the department didn’t stop lab owner Boeing from recycling radioactive metal and sending it to unlicensed dumps throughout Southern California, that they would sue.

The clock was ticking and would soon run out. The coalition sued DTSC and the Department of Public Health Tuesday afternoon less than an hour after DTSC’s bizarre press conference.

“Respondents have approved, without environmental review, the demolition and disposal of structures that are, by Boeing’s own measurements, radiologically contaminated,” the Consumer Watchdog and Strumwasser & Woocher LLP complaint says. “Worse, Respondents are expressly approving Boeing’s disposal of this radiologically contaminated waste offsite to toxic waste facilities that are neither licensed, nor designed, to accept radiologic material. Many tons of these materials have even been sent to recycling facilities so that these radiologically active materials enter the commercial metal supply.”

The lawsuit comes eight months after EnviroReporter.com exposed DTSC in December 2012 for greenwashing, astroturfing and gutting the SSFL cleanup which has cost hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to partially clean up with the majority of the contamination still remaining. Soon after, Consumer Watchdog came out with a blistering report over the agency’s failure to protect California communities from toxic waste.

A subsequent Consumer Watchdog investigation exposed that two top DTSC officials owned large amounts of stock in corporations DTSC regulated. One of those officials was Stewart Black, DTSC’s deputy director of Brownfields and Environmental Restoration.

Perhaps anger at the conflict of interest charges informed Black’s bombastic bluster during Tuesday’s press call. “It’s not only false and irresponsible,” he said of the Consumer Watchdog SSFL report. “It’s frankly reprehensible… I am appalled at the reckless nature of the characterization of cleanup activities at Santa Susana.”

One wonders whether or not Black had even read the extensively sourced 9-page letter and 114-page report that had been delivered to the department the prior day. The letter and report alleged illegal dumping and recycling of tons of radioactive metal, concrete and asphalt as reported in Boeing’s Meltdown Mess.

DTSC deputy director Stewart Black

DTSC deputy director Stewart Black

Deputy director Black seemed outraged and quite sure of himself until he was questioned about the actual levels of radiation outlined extensively in the report. While continually stating that DTSC was in charge of SSFL building demolition and disposal, he referred an increasingly frustrated reporter to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) which was also put on notice by the coalition. Black wouldn’t answer questions about radiation issues raised in the report even as he attacked it with a rainbow of rhetoric.

The report was causing “unnecessary fear in Southern California communities” Black said. “The safety and care that we implement as we’re overseeing cleanups at sites like Santa Susana are extremely important to us, and we take that responsibility very seriously.”

So seriously does DTSC take that responsibility that DTSC senior staff legal counsel Nancy Bothwell assured reporters that the department was “following the relevant laws” at the same time as saying “I wished these organizations might have provided more information.”

Bothwell apparently did not consider over a hundred pages of fact-sourced accusations to be enough information. Black seemed satisfied being outraged by the report without actually knowing what’s in it.

This became clear when this reporter asked Black about the building at the center of the controversy, the former plutonium fuel fabrication facility. The report shows that 88 of 108 radiation samples taken of the building by Boeing were significantly above background, yet the building was kicked loose for demolition by DTSC with no restrictions.

Plutonium-239 is one of the most fearsome radionuclides known yet the Boeing data of the 108 samples did not distinguish between radionuclides that could also be present including strontium-90 and cesium-137. If the exceedances of background were due to any of these radionuclides, it could allow radioactive materials into the product stream with unforeseen, and possibly tragic, consequences. There is next to no chance that the overages were caused by anything but manmade radiation.

Black refused to answer these reporter’s questions and suggested that it would be best to get it “from the horse’s mouth” referring to the CDPH. After the teleconference ended, the CDPH’s contact number was sent to this reporter by a DTSC press liaison.

DTSC wasn’t so reticent to provide comment online where it posted an interesting characterization of the issues. “The allegations are that DTSC allowed radioactively contaminated waste to be disposed of at landfills and other facilities not licensed to take it,” DTSC said in a Santa Susana Statement for Web. “And that DTSC failed to follow all laws and regulations that govern environmental cleanups.”

Plutonium fuel fabrication facility with glove boxes to handle radioactive fuel

Plutonium fuel fabrication facility with glove boxes to handle radioactive fuel

“Both allegations are false,” the statement says. “None of the building material demolished and disposed of under DTSC’s oversight from Area IV or any other portion of the SSFL site poses a risk to public health or the environment. In addition, none of the cleanup activities has occurred without required review of the environmental impacts.”

The report by the nuclear watchdog group and member of the coalition, Committee to Bridge the Gap, says otherwise, and notes that more than a decade ago, then-Governor Gray Davis signed an executive order prohibiting disposal of any radioactive material in landfills in California.

Davis’ executive order specifically ordered polluters to not dump hot material in landfills: “If your radioactive materials license is terminated or modified through a decommissioning action to allow release of a site or materials for unrestricted use, it is imperative that you not dispose of any decommissioned materials with residual radiation above background levels at Class III landfills or unclassified waste management units during this moratorium. If there is a violation of the moratorium, the Water Boards will consider enforcement actions against the owner and/or operator of the facility from which the decommissioned materials originated.” [Emphasis added]

This order would seem especially targeted at places like the former Rocketdyne and Atomics International outdoor lab where the nuclear work was so extensive. Indeed, the 1959 partial meltdown of the Sodium Reactor Experiment unleashed hundreds of times more radiation into the environment than the partial meltdown of Three Mile Island in 1979. At least two other partial meltdowns occurred in Area IV of SSFL in 1964 and 1969.

“The radioactive work took place in Area IV, which housed ten nuclear reactors, a plutonium fuel fabrication facility, a ‘hot lab’ for cutting apart irradiated nuclear fuel and manufacturing radioactive sources, an accelerator, various ‘criticality’ facilities, a burn pit in which radioactively contaminated wastes were burned in the open air, and numerous other radioactive operations,” the Committee to Bridge the Gap report reads. “One of the reactors suffered a partial meltdown in which a third of the fuel experienced melting; radioactive material was exhausted into the atmosphere for weeks. At least three others suffered accidents as well. None had containment structures. Decades of accidents, spills, and other releases led to widespread radioactive and hazardous chemical contamination of soil, groundwater, surface water, and structures at the site, as well as migration offsite.”

The report shows that four additional Area IV buildings are about to be demolished as well as the plutonium fuel fabrication facility. The remnants of a sixth reactor have also been okayed for unrestricted release. The amount of radioactive material that has already been demolished and dumped or recycled is staggering according to the report’s numbers.

Six structures already torn down were, according to radiation readings of the material, radioactively contaminated, found above background by Boeing or its predecessors. That includes 493 tons of metal that were allowed to be recycled into the commercial metal supply and 2,432 tons of concrete and asphalt recycled into the consumer products stream including home construction and neighborhood street repair and replacement.

The amount of waste sent to Class I landfills designed for only chemical and not radioactive wastes was 1,153 tons. 568 more tons were put in Class II landfills which are for industrial waste but not radioactively contaminated material. Even municipal dumps are designated targets for this radioactive material with 242 tons of the hot stuff dumped across the Southland in five landfills.

Plutonium fuel fabrication facility with glove boxes removed

Plutonium fuel fabrication facility with glove boxes removed

“Additionally, Boeing employed questionable procedures in making the measurements, asserting background levels that appear markedly inflated, using such short count times that detection limits were incapable of catching a large fraction of actual exceedances, and failing to follow established protocols requiring reporting hundreds of measurements that exceeded the critical level for identifying contamination,” the report says. “Nonetheless, Boeing’s own reported radiation readings show that the material is contaminated, yet it has been sent out to recyclers, municipal landfills and other facilities not licensed or designed to handle radioactive waste.”

Low level radioactive waste has to be sent to licensed radiation dumps for a reason, the report points out. Otherwise the ionizing contamination could pollute groundwater and expose the public though the water and the crops watered with it. Indeed, during a DTSC-led meeting discussing SSFL cleanup Tuesday up at the lab, the toxics agency revealed that strontium-90 has now been found in the former Rocketdyne lab’s groundwater along with the radioactive tritium and vaporizing rocket engine solvent trichloroethylene that was previously known.

“Airborne radioactive particulates can be inhaled and lodge in the lung,” the report says. “Exposure to radiation from contaminated metals can produce direct radiation doses. All such radiation doses increases the risk of cancer, leukemia, and genetic effects. The fundamental principle of environmental review is to assess the potential impacts before taking irreversible actions that could significantly affect the environment.”

DTSC has overseen the $41.5 million EPA survey of Area IV’s radiation contamination that Boeing has said had been cleaned twice beforehand and still comes back thousands of times above background. Yet despite this, the department has repeatedly given Boeing the go-ahead to dump and recycle nuclear waste from facilities in Area IV side-stepping the illegality of the violating the Governor’s Moratorium by claiming that the materials are harmless even when so many samples are radiating above background.

This violates a basic tenant of radiation science that has been established since July 2005 in an historic peer-reviewed study. No amount of low-level radiation exposure is safe according to the prestigious National Academy of Sciences. “The scientific research base shows that there is no threshold of exposure below which low levels of ionized radiation can be demonstrated to be harmless or beneficial,” said Richard R. Monson, the panel chairman and a professor of epidemiology at Harvard’s School of Public Health.

SSFL Area IV with plutonium fuel fabrication facility in foreground over hill crest

SSFL Area IV with plutonium fuel fabrication facility in foreground over hill crest

DTSC seems keen to subvert its own Agreement on Consent (AOC) with the Department of Energy (DOE) that was agreed to three years ago. The main thrust of the agreement was that everything in 270-acre Area IV, including the 90 acres DOE leased to run its secret nuclear program for decades, would be cleaned up to background. The $41.5 million EPA study determined the background in Area IV and the many places it was exceeded, often by astronomical amounts of cesium-137, strontium-90 and plutonium-239/240.

The AOC covers everything in Area IV including all structures, man-made material and debris and binds DOE as well as its subcontractors such as Boeing. That has required some fancy footwork to dance around the requirements of the agreement.

Boeing seems to have come up with a convenient answer to the problem of dismantling structures in Area IV according to the report. Call the structures “non-radiological,” even when by the company’s own records, these were former radiological facilities. The questionable logic holds that if the structures weren’t involved in nuclear research, they couldn’t possibly be contaminated even though they are in close proximity to the sites of the three partial meltdowns as well as the sodium burn pit where radioactive barrels of goo were tossed into and set afire by shooting guns at the metal containers.

State and federal law prohibit the dumping of radioactive waste in anything but a licensed low-level radioactive waste disposal facility. DTSC and DPH’s use of “risk” levels to determine if the radiation waste presents a health threat is not allowable legally to determine the disposition of this toxic trash according to government statutes analyzed at depth. Indeed, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission tried to enact a “below regulatory concern” level in the late 1980s but was rebuffed when Congress struck it down.

But Boeing is not declaring its debris to be uncontaminated based on the false notion of risk that DTSC has floated. The company is actually using levels based on what was easily detectable by old radiation detectors from decades ago in the 1960s which have no relevance or basis in legal or practical reality today.

The Consumer Watchdog report shows these buildings are contaminated with uranium or mixed fission products including plutonium, cesium-137, uranium-plutonium oxide and a dozen other of some of the most deadly man made radionuclides known. What are unknown are the exact radionuclides that irradiated the 88 out of 108 samples from the plutonium fuel fabrication facility that this reporter failed to pry an answer out of Black about.

No amount of bluster, obfuscation and runaround can diminish the seriousness of the situation. If DTSC, DPH and Boeing have it their way, this metal may end up in kid’s braces, silverware and drive shafts in cars to name just but a few materials where recycled radioactive metal was found.

DTSC’s response to Consumer Watchdog’s demands ended with “we welcome the opportunity to address your mischaracterizations in a court of law.” Now that the coalition has moved forward with its lawsuit, it will be up to the judicial system – which allows far less exaggeration and false outrage – to determine where Boeing’s radioactively contaminated building debris will end up.

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  1. Another Simi Mom says:

    DTSC’s lawyer James Potter, of the California Attorney General’s Office, sent out a letter wherein DTSC graciously agrees to continue its “moratorium” on further demolition work in Area IV, until October 25, 2013 when the L.A. Superior Court will hold a hearing on the motion for an injunction which Michael wrote about above. Interestingly enough, Boeing didn’t sign on to that letter, so it will be interesting to see if Boening ende up “still proceeding” with the demolition, whether DTSC likes it or not. Stay tuned.

  2. Another Simi Mom says:

    A bit of insight on Stewart Block, DTSC’s Deputy Director of Brownfields and Environmental Restoraton: He’s not just in charge of remediation of the Santa Susana Field Lab. He’s in charge of every single DTSC remediation project in all of California. That’s bad news for anyone who lives near a highly contaminated site, and for anyone whose drinking water sources are being contaminated by toxic substances.

    In the mid 1980′s, the LA Times original, seminal reports on local environmental issues were lengthly stories about the public health effects of the BKK Landfill in West Covina. The controversies about BKK date back to the early 1980′s.

    About 2 years ago, I did an extensive review of DTSC’s online records concerning the huge plume of VOC contamination which has flowed out of the BKK Landfill, contaminating the ground water supply under West Covina. I was trying to find out how the DTSC had “handled” the toxic plume after EPA had delegated regulatory authority over the plume to DTSC.

    The existence and non-clean-up of that plume allegedly has been a big concern for DTSC and the City of West Covina since 2001 and earlier. (I use that 2001 date as a bench mark because in 2001 BKK’s owners, through their lawyer Peter Weiner (also Boeing’s lawyer) were trying to get a loan to pay money for a “remediation security deposit” demanded by DTSC, but in reality the toxic plume coming out of BKK has been an issue since the early 1980′s.)

    In my online search of DTSC’s records, I was trying to find out whether DTSC had ever been able to stop the plume of ground water contamination from spreading “even further” from BKK than it had by 2001. In my search of DTSC’s online records in 2011 I found a detailed DTSC staff report to Deputy Director Block, describing the BKK ground water plume in great detail. Mr. Block was told by his staff, in writing, that the plume was still spreading and little had been done to solve the problem.

    DTSC’s online files showed, largely through lack of recent documents, that under Deputy Director Block, DTSC has put the BKK ground water contamination issue on the back burner. DTSC has apparently backed off from taking any further formal legal action against the individuals who are the “stockholders” in BKK’s owner/former operator.

    While digging through the City of West Covina’s online files on the toxic ground plume, I learned that BKK’s owners had repeatedly threatened to file bankruptcy if DTSC pursued them. I also learned that the city attorney of West Covina was very frustrated that BKK’s owners never actually filed bankruptcy, but instead the mere threat of bankruptcy dissuaded DTSC from acting aggressively. DTSC’s Brownfields and Environmental Remediation Division, under Mr. Block, simply failed to pursue them. At last check, under Mr. Block DTSC was doing nothing concerning the BKK groundwater plume, approximately 27 years after the LAT first reported on it.

    The reason for my digging through DTSC’s online files concerning the toxic ground water plume coming out of BKK was because DTSC Deputy Director Block was involved in intensive, secret-from-the-public negotiations with Whittaker Corp., the City of Santa Clarita and local water agencies concerning yet another toxic ground water plume of VOCs and perchlorate coming out of the 1,000 acre former bomb manufacturing and testing facility called WHittaker Bermite. In Santa Clarita, ground water forms 50% of the drinking water which members of the public consume. Deputy Director Block and the City’s executive Paul Brotzman met and spoke by telephone and in person many times. During the course of those negotiations, it was discovered that the plume of toxic groundwater contamination had spred westward from Bermite, to the area of the City Hall, and onwards to the area of the City’s transit center, a distance of more than a mile, contaminating at least 2 drinking water wells which had to be shut down. (There’s a whole separate scandal about how infrequently those drinking water wells, still in operation, were tested for VOCs and perchlorate, once Deputy Director Block and his staff knew the plume was moving towards the in-use drinking water wells.)

    Ultimately, due to the risk of inadvertently assuming remediation liability, the City of Santa Clarita intelligently backed out of taking any lead role in ownership of the Whittaker Bermite site, let alone buying the property.

    As the plume of ground water contamination spread the community’s water agencies blew a deadline set by a “partial settlement agreement” with Whittaker Corp. within which the water agencies had to file and prosecute further litigation demanding remediation of the ground water.

    For at least the last 4 years, DTSC’s project manager for the Whittaker Bermite site did little to force the polluter and its insurance company to pay up or clean up. In some senses one can’t blame the DTSC project manager because the Brownfields Division, led by Deputy Director Block, has assigned his employee approximately 40 heavily contaminated properties around LA County to watch over.

    The bottom line is that Deputy Director Block well knows what’s going wrong with the ground water contamination plume in Santa Clarita, and for all intents and purposes, he’s doing nothing about it. Just last month, the DTSC organized Whittaker Bermite Community Advisory Group issued a press release crying out for DTSC attention to the contaminated site and for action on the spreading toxic ground water plume which is contaminating the water source for which that community relies for its drinking water. I doubt Deputy Director Block even read the press release.

    An abject regulatory failure: Simi Valley, West Covina, Santa Clarita and countless other heavily contaminated brownfields in California whose remediation is supposedly being directed by DTSC’s Deputy Director for Brownfields and Environmental Restoration, Stewart Block. One wonders if Deputy Director Block is so ineffectual in protecting the public interest because he is incompetent, or philosophically opposed to the stated goal of his agency and office brownfields remediation, or simply morally corrupt.

    As to the litigation against DTSC filed with respect to the Santa Susana Field Lab, my compliments and best wishes to the plaintiffs and their lawyers. They’ll find the “opposing team” of lawyers, for the defendants, to be quite interesting, based on what I’ve read in the pleadings in the Sacramento Superior Court’s online docket in the case. The California Attorney General has appeared as the attorney for the California Department of Public Health, but not as the attorney for DTSC. Perhaps AG Harris realizes how bad it will look for her, in her campaign for re-election, and as a rising femal political star, to “zealously represent” an incompetent and/or corrupt state agency.

    On Boeing’s legal team for the case is the law firm of Paul Hastings of San Francisco, home of the “Darth Vader of California Environmental Law” Peter C. Weiner and perhaps coaching behind closed doors Robert P. Hoffman, the man who was DTSC’s General Counsel for many years and who served as DTSC’s Chief of Staff during the time while confirmation of Debbie Raphael as DTSC’s appointment by Gov. Jerry Brown was pending.

    For interesting reading, take a look at those two gentlemen’s lawyer-resumes:

    http://paulhastings.com/professionals/details/peterweiner

    http://paulhastings.com/professionals/details/roberthoffman

  3. From the folks at Consumer Watchdog:

    Consumer Watchdog Files Preliminary Injunction Motion To Stop Illegal State Approval of Boeing Radioactive Waste Demolition and Disposal

    Department of Toxic Substances Control and Boeing Volunteer to Cease Activity Until Sept. 30

    SANTA MONICA, CA – Consumer Watchdog and Strumwasser & Woocher have filed a motion in Sacramento Superior Court for a preliminary injunction freezing all of Boeing’s demolition of structures and disposal of radioactive waste at the Santa Susana Field Lab in Simi Valley—including a plutonium fuel fabrication building. The groups want the court to resolve allegations that the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) and the Department of Public Health (DPH) broke California’s signature environmental law by approving the work in Area IV, the nuclear portion of the lab, without public review or comment and allowing its illegal disposal.

    The motion said, “The demolition of Area IV structures has the potential to cause significant impact to human health and the environment by releasing previously contained radioactive particles. Moreover, Respondents have expressly authorized Boeing to ship the radioactive debris offsite for disposal in waste facilities that are neither licensed nor designed to safely dispose of radioactive waste. Disposal of radioactive waste in non-licensed facilities creates risk of serious harm to the environment and the public.”

    See legal documents here:

    Preliminary Injunction: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/motionpreliminaryinjunction9-3-13.pdf

    Gunderson Declaration: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/11_2013-9-3_dec_of_gundersen.pdf

    DTSC and Boeing promised not to allow any more demolition in the nuclear area of the Santa Susana Field Lab or remove any debris until Sept. 30. The groups are waiting for a court date for a fuller hearing. “We are pleased that Boeing and the DTSC have temporarily volunteered to stop endangering the public health,” said Consumer Advocate Liza Tucker. “But it’s the state that illegally sanctioned demolition and disposal activities. Going forward, we have to make sure that our toxics regulators don’t expose us to radioactive waste, but protect us from it instead by cleaning it up fully and disposing of it properly.”

    Arne Gunderson, a nuclear engineer with 40 years’ experience in decommissioning of nuclear sites and site remediation, supported the petitioners in a declaration. He agreed that the demolition of Area IV structures presents a risk of harm to the environment and public through improper disposal and demolition, that the radiation surveys Boeing provided to state regulators showed “significant quantities of material that is radioactively contaminated by isotopes that could only have come from operations at the Santa Susana Field Laboratory,” and that Being used “flawed methods that would mask significant contamination remaining in the extant radiological structures.”

    The Santa Susana Field Lab was used to test rockets and experimental nuclear reactors for decades and experienced accidents and a partial nuclear meltdown in 1959 that extensively contaminated the site. Radioactive waste such as metal that enters the consumer supply through recycling could wind up in jeans zippers or office girders, for example. Hazardous waste dumps slated to receive radiological waste from the site are not licensed nor specially constructed to contain it, and neither were municipal garbage dumps or recycling shops that already received radioactively contaminated debris.

    Such waste, if improperly contained, can scatter or seep into groundwater where it can contaminate drinking water or crops, if used for watering. Exposure to radioactive waste can cause cancer and genetic mutations.

    Consumer Watchdog and Strumwasser & Woocher originally filed suit against the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) and the Department of Public Health (DPH) on August 6. They are also representing Physicians for Social Responsibility-Los Angeles, Committee to Bridge the Gap, and the Southern California Federation of Scientists.

    For more see: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-filing-suit-block-top-toxics-regulators-disposal-radioactive-waste-inc

    From the folks at Boeing:

    West Hills Neighborhood Council:

    Recently, Physicians for Social Responsibility-Los Angeles, Southern California Federation of Scientists, Committee to Bridge the Gap and Consumer Watchdog sued Boeing, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control and the California Department of Public Health alleging Boeing’s ongoing demolition of our remaining structures in Area IV is in violation of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Today, Boeing responded to the Petitioners’ “Motion for a Preliminary Injunction” filing with the following statement:

    “The recently-filed lawsuit seeking to halt the demolition of old buildings at the Santa Susana Field Laboratory has no merit, and serves only to slow the progress being made to preserve the site as open space parkland. Even though the lawsuit lacks merit, Boeing has voluntarily delayed building demolition and disposal activities in Area IV through September to allow the parties time to present the legal issues to the court for orderly consideration.
    There is no harm to the public or threat to the environment from Boeing’s demolition and waste disposal activities. The demolition process being followed incorporates the views of multiple agencies – both state and federal – and the California Department of Toxic Substances Control has stated, ‘None of the building material demolished and disposed of under DTSC’s oversight from Area IV or any other portion of the [Santa Susana] site poses a risk to public health or the environment.’
    The demolition is not being done as part of the cleanup, but rather to enhance the restoration of Santa Susana as open space. However, getting the abandoned buildings out of the way will also make the soil cleanup easier and more efficient. Boeing is confident that its own actions and those of the regulatory agencies fully comply with the law, and will result in a considered, thorough and safe remediation of the area. The court will now decide whether further delay is necessary or whether this action to help restore the site can move forward. Boeing remains committed to working with the local community and government agencies to make progress in cleaning up Santa Susana, while preserving the site’s unique natural and cultural resources as open space for future generations.”

    Please feel free to share with the Council and call me with any questions.

    Sincerely,

    Kamara

    _________________________________
    Kamara Noelle Sams
    Environmental Community Relations
    The Boeing Company

  4. joan glover says:

    Does anyone know anything about radioactive contaminants in the Chatsworth Park South and Santa Susana State Park hiking trails? Know anyone who has run tests on that area?
    Please contact me at chisel482001@yahoo.com

  5. joan glover says:

    Julianne, what is the story with Chatsworth Park South? I hiked there and around the Santa Susana State Park almost daily 1998 through 2001, have removed around 120 skin tumors and lesions, have super high levels of uranium in hair analysis. They are saying it is closed because of lead poisoning from skeet shooting back in the 60′s…Anyone know anything about any 4ests that were done in that area for contaminants, especially radioactive materials, I would appreciate you letting me know

    chisel482001@yahoo.com

  6. Henry says:

    @Sol Weiss. That is an excellent list! We need to see a news article covering the points you raised.

  7. Sol Weiss says:

    Thinking it’s time to get info on how to do the following:

    1., How to write a BILL. More specifically, instructions on how an ordinary citizen can draw up a proposed legislative bill and forward it to their congressperson in order to enact law. The bill needed right now is creating a safe place (from terrorism, force of nature disasters such as earthquakes) to store and/or permanently render inert and destroy these dismantled defense sites with their piles of newly created toxic waste materials, including radiological waste and mixed waste.

    2., How to engage experts and environmental organizations. There are thousands of them worldwide and stateside. Contact information is not readily available yet.

    3., How to obtain information from the polluter that is shielded from the public. FOIA is one angle, what are the other methods (several)?

    4., How to bring criminal charges. The U.S. Attorney has been involved in the past. Was that effective enough? Who should prosecute now?

    5., How to engage the executive branch of government.

    6., How to reform Cal EPA and Fed EPA.

    That’s an involved listing, I know. Food for thought.

  8. Dorri Raskin says:

    Thank you Michael for your excellent reporting. Boeing and its puppet, DTSC, are disgraceful. Thanks to Consumer Watchdog, Committee to Bridge the Gap, and PSR-LA for looking out for us.

  9. David Nadler says:

    I just found this website, and these articles are shocking. I’m sorry, but trying to shove radioactive waste into landfills is just plain sociopathy. It’s time to start arresting these polluters and their stooges in what is supposed to be OUR government.

  10. Curt Talbot says:

    Editor… If you’re referring to the “Hot Lab” as the fuel “fabrication”, facility, that has been long remediated and removed. I should know as I worked there also.

    [Editor: No we are not - we are writing about building 4055 - the plutonium fuel fabrication facility called by Boeing the former radiological "Nuclear Materials Development Facility."]

  11. Steve Vargas says:

    My tax dollars are paying for this outrageous behavior of the DTSC. YOUR tax dollars are paying for the salary of Stewart Black who has stock in Royal Dutch Shell and owns up to $100,000 worth of stock in the chemical company McKesson and has stock in GE. Consumer Watch says “These companies either hold permits before the DTSC or have been the subject of corrective actions.”

    Black should resign immediately and then be “outraged” at his own lack of principles. DTSC director Debbie Raphael has to be booted out too. There is a disease in DTSC that has to be surgerically removed – the symptoms are lying, backroom deals, stock rewards and stonewalling. These people have to go.

    Can you hear me Governor Brown?

  12. Curt Talbot says:

    I worked at SSFL for 20 years and at the building in the last picture. It was not a fuel processing facility. It was SPTF-Sodium Pump Test Facility. This facility tested magnetic pumps that moved sodium in a fluid state as it would in an actual nuclear power plant. No nuclear or radioactive materials there. Please get your facts and evidence straight.

    [Editor: Note that the caption on the photo says "SSFL Area IV with plutonium fuel fabrication facility in foreground over hill crest" which is correct.]

  13. Stand In The Corner says:

    The little people have to make the effort to “trip” the giant from walking over everything and everyone! Billion dollar corporations are STILL run by little boys and girls, who are spoiled children.

    If you don’t smack them when you should then, they will keep pooping on the floor and rub it into the floor; on the walls; on the dog and finally….on themselves!

    Since they are acting like spoiled children who always want their own way, all the time then, the Public needs to discipline the kids as to what is the “Right” thing and “Wrong” thing is.

    Maybe we need to use crayons to explain it to them…

  14. Julianne North says:

    Somehow, I just knew the day would arrive when DTSC and DPH would go bipolar and turn on the hands that feed them like a rabid Rottweiler.

    Now, can we rally the orgs (enviro attorneys) to go after DTSC regarding Chatsworth Park South ?

  15. Margery Brown says:

    Unfortunately, it appears to be a completely useless waste of time and energy to confront a billion dollar corporation like Boeing with the facts of their alleged illegal dumping of dangerous radioactive buildings in unlicensed or improperly licensed facilities, when large sums of money are involved, if they actually do comply with the law. However, one would at least expect a Government agency like DTSC to enforce the law, when the health, welfare or the very lives of potential victims may clearly be involved. Apparently such expectations can be doomed to disappointment,when denial of wrongdoing is immediately and vociferously declared, without, first, apparently even taking into account the facts involved…..facts which can create unwitting victims of radiation.

    But then, when one takes the facts into account, one must thereby become ACCOUNTABLE! But the COUNT in accountable seems to refer to $’s….big dollars must be spent in order to comply with the law. Hopefully now, the Court will be able to untangle all of the possible manipulations or outright violations of the law. The sad thing is that those dollars always seem to end up paying for all the lawyers, and never the cleanup or the victims.

  16. Marie Mason says:

    Michael
    Another great article to add to your series on this site.

  17. Eric Estrin says:

    Nice job, Michael. These government agencies would save themselves and all of us a lot of stress by just following the laws and protecting the public health. If not, then what are they here for — making money off the companies they’re supposed to be regulating?

  18. Thanks again Michael, great article – you have restored my faith in the good guys.
    Will these people never learn that we are watching them?

  19. Bonnie Klea says:

    Yes Bill and it was in the neighborhood of the Calabasas Landfill where all the retinablastoma babies were born.

  20. Bonnie Klea says:

    This was quite a surprise to me to hear that the old plutonium processing facility was being dismantled and going to landfills. A fellow worker told the story about a large accident at this facility where the AEC had to go to the worker’s homes and test for plutonium. He just died from lung cancer. How can DTSC and the Dept of Health allow this?

  21. Thank you Michael for a great article.

    History repeats itself over and over at Santa Susana.

    Remember when it was announced that the Calabasas Landfill made an announcement that in 1980 they would no longer take hazardous waste and only take residential waste?

    That is when the SSFL went on the fast track and delivered in one year (1979) over 500,000 tons, yes, tons of waste from both the Santa Susana, Canoga/Vanowen facilities.

    You can read the report here…

    http://acmela.org/calabasaslandfill.html

    William Preston Bowling
    Founder ACME
    Aerospace Contamination
    Museum of Education

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