Fifty years after America’s worst nuclear meltdown 30 miles northwest of Los Angeles at the Santa Susana Field Laboratory’s “Sodium Reactor Experiment,” the government’s just-sacked head of lab remediation says the new Rocketdyne cleanup law is too strict and that site owner Boeing is going to sue the State over the standards. New Miller-McCune article and exclusive interviews.
The Coca complex was involved with several missile programs including Navaho, Atlas, J-2, Saturn V second Stage Battleship (five J-2s), Space Shuttle Main Engine (SSME), and Delta IV Expendable Launch Vehicle Tanks. Within the 141-acre Group 4, which Coca Area shares with Delta Area and the Propellant Load Facility, there are a number of chemicals that Boeing and NASA are responsible for remediating. They include volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including trichloroethylene or TCE, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), metals, and dioxins.
This ethereal photograph from December 12, 1960 shows a rocket test at the Bravo test stand on NASA’s part of the Santa Susana Field Laboratory. The golden tones and aquamarine color make this previously unpublished photograph one of the most awe-inspiring images we’ve ever seen of a rocket test at the lab.
As we continue our “Railroading Runkle Canyon?” series, the Department of Toxic Substances Control replaces Rocketdyne and Runkle Canyon’s cleanup project manager criticized by the Radiation Rangers in the series. Surprise move shocks community reeling from simultaneous revelations that Boeing has not signed off on the cleanup agreement that will cost hundreds of millions.
Some of these folks are sparkling writers like Joan Trossman Bien, D’Lanie Blaze, and Margery Brown. Others are devoted activists like Christina Walsh and Bill Bowling, people who are making the continued development and expansion of EnviroReporter.com so exciting.
Now why Boeing would mischaracterize the number of trucks that will be heading down into the San Fernando Valley with no assurance of the environmental protections that DTSC used at Sage Ranch? And why would Boeing not volunteer to have mandatory environmental protections during this massive operation?
There is an estimated one million cubic yards of contaminated soil on the site, which suffered the worst meltdown in American history in 1959. Over 74,000 truckloads of toxic cargo could rumble through the San Fernando Valley over the lifetime of the cleanup, scheduled for completion in 2017.
“They had two broken fuel rods they had to remove from the reactor core with a cherry picker. The last one pulled and fell off the cherry picker and fell on the floor before they could get it into the lead cask, and contaminated the High Bay area.”
Sound like fun? It is and you get the added benefit of not coming off like a complete ding-a-ling when you try to explain away a meltdown that the Department of Energy itself, the very agency that owned the failed reactor, calls a meltdown (and not even a “partial” one at that).
“What you don’t know is that in these secret negotiations that have gone on the last seven months, DOE, NASA, and Boeing have been resisting complying with that law and attempting to break the promise that they made to the Congress.”
Who has the time to actually go to a source when you can just be it yourself? And, say, shorten an article to 2,900 words and pawn it off on the editor who’ll do anything to get a rise, even having provocateurs impersonating reporters impersonating supposed sources to posit a revisionist version of a seminal event in Southern California.
It’s likely that the Radiation Rangers will attend and may have questions of the panel about our revelations that Boeing claimed that no offsite testing had been done in Runkle Canyon and that it didn’t border the 2,850-acre lab, when the very same report showed otherwise.
Exactly 50 years ago today, Atomics International was in the second-to-last day of the SRE meltdown that began on July 13, 1959. The amount of radiation released during this time, and after, was 260 to 459 times the same amount of radionuclides that escaped the more infamous Three Mile Island meltdown in Pennsylvania twenty years later, according to various sources including a comprehensive analysis of EnviroReporter.com. This fascinating brochure from 1957 presents the reactor in happier times.
The worst meltdown in U.S. history happened 30 miles northwest of Los Angeles from July 13-26, 1959. A reactor spewed hundreds of times more radiation than Three Mile Island did in 1979. The effects of this covered-up meltdown still reverberate throughout Southern California today.
Environmental investigations can take a lot of time and are arduous to research, write and produce. We call it “the slog.” There are times that are especially trying like getting Version 2 of EnviroReporter.com up and running properly. It’s just at times like these that kind words remind Denise Anne and I why we do what we do. And now that we are in our eleventh year reporting on the lab, it also reminded us never to take any complements too seriously.
In an historic move to maintain California’s control of the costly cleanup of the former Rocketdyne lab in the hills between the Simi and San Fernando valleys, Cal/EPA Secretary Linda Adams said late yesterday that the agency would oppose federal Superfund listing for the radiologically and chemically-polluted 2,850 acre site.
Gov. Schwarzenegger terminates the uncertainty of Rocketdyne cleanup with historic move that keeps California in charge – for now. The long bitter battle of Rocketdyne was resolved on January 15, 2008 with State negotiating highest cleanup standards for intensely-polluted Boeing lab.
The Department of Toxics Substances Control has begun the massive cleanup of a Rocketdyne dump next to Sage Ranch State Park. A trio of environmentalists found a debris field in March 2007 that included blocks of asbestos and pipes lined with antimony. In June, DTSC’s Norm Riley accompanied the citizens to the dump and validated their concerns.
On October 12 Gov. Schwarzenegger signed SB-990, a bill championed by State Senator Sheila Kuehl to clean up Rocketdyne to Superfund standards. Boeing agreed to pay for remediation and to donate the lab to the State for parkland. Government oversight will be headed by DTSC, and transfer of the 2,850 acre lab to the State is prohibited until cleanup goals are completed.