Search Results for "rocketdyne"

Sodium Reactor Experiment Meltdown

The 50th anniversary of the worst nuclear reactor disaster in U.S. history happened just outside of Los Angeles July 13-26, 1959 and still resonates today.

READ “Wrinkles in Runkle Canyon – 50 Years After a Santa Susana Nuclear Accident Holds Up Land Development” in the LA Weekly where‘s Michael Collins […]


In the course of our Ahmanson Ranch investigation, has assembled hundreds of documents totally thousands of pages. This treasure trove of information includes the entire hard copy and computer files of two former newspaper editors who were on the scene before we were (but who had done nothing significant […]

White Blight Chromium – March 26 and June 10, 2008

On March 26, 2008, Radiation Rangers “Fearless Frank” Serafine and “The Good Reverend John” Southwick visited Runkle Canyon and found a strange sight – thousands of white rocks and what appeared to be some kind of white evaporate or precipitate covering large swaths of land. Southwick called by […]

Runkle Canyon 11-08-08

During the debate over whether Runkle Canyon’s surface water is a drinking water source for Simi Valley, a number of folks have insisted that it isn’t, including members of the Department of Toxic Substances Control. Indeed, Runkle Canyon drains into the Arroyo Simi which replenishes the aquifer under Simi Valley […]

Sodium Reactor Experiment 6 – Demolition

JIM GARNER WORKED IN THE LATE 70S for a company; called Brownyard Steel Fabrication, which was doing contract work for Rocketdyne at the Santa Susana lab, we wrote in “Hot Zone,” a 1998 Los Angeles magazine cover story. He recalls standing in a steel vault 60 feet underground, tearing out […]


KB Home promises mass grading of Runkle Canyon
By Michael Collins
Ventura County Reporter – April 16, 2009
Leave it to Simi Valley’s Radiation Rangers to uncover more than just contamination in Runkle Canyon, where KB Home hopes to build 465 homes in the shadow of radioactive Rocketdyne. The citizens group has discovered […]


City planners make a slick zone change for easy building on toxic lands
By Michael Collins
LA Weekly – March 5, 2009
West Hills resident Bonnie Klea is vivacious and no-nonsense. She won a battle over a rare bladder cancer diagnosed in 1995, and has long suspected the toxins that taint a big […]

SSFL Area IV – Sodium Reactor Experiment

The Sodium Reactor Experiment, or SRE, was the first nuclear reactor in this country to supply commercially-available electricity. It powered the lights for the-then tiny town of Moorpark in Ventura County, California, population 1,200. The reactor is best known for suffering the worst meltdown in American history, releasing hundreds of […]

SSFL Area IV – SNAP wrote about the SNAP reactor’s two partial meltdowns in a September 23, 2004 Ventura County Reporter article entitled “In Hot Water – More good news about contamination from your friends at Rocketdyne,” where it was noted:
“At the meeting last week, Rocketdyne divulged that two new wells had high levels […]

SSFL Area IV – Gallery E – Buildings 4029, 4030, 4055, 4064, 4093 & 4100

(Click thumbnail to view entire photograph)
“The Radiation Measurements Facility (Building 4029) was used between 1959 and 1974 for the storage and use of radioactive sources to calibrate radiation detection instruments for the SRE and other reactor tests,” according to the DOE. “In March, 1964, a radium source was dropped in […]

SSFL Area IV – Gallery B – SSFL Area IV Building 4020 Hot Lab

(Click thumbnail to view entire photograph)
“During reactor test operations, it was often necessary to examine reactor fuel assemblies and other test specimens to determine how they were performing,” according to the Department of Energy. “This involved handling and examining highly radioactive items. These operations were done remotely in the heavily […]

SSFL Area II – Gallery C

In Area II of SSFL is the Delta site, first constructed in 1957 for Thor engine testing and later modified for the Lance J-2 programs, including altitude testing. The area has also been used for the loading of propellant for Peacekeeper Stage IV. The DELTA 1 and 2 test stands […]


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The Santa Susana Field Laboratory’s Area IV’s extensive radiological contamination is the result of partial meltdowns, accidents, spills along with burning and dumping. Six out of ten experimental reactors suffered major accidents including the 1959 partial meltdown of the Sodium Reactor Experiment, or SRE, which released hundreds […]


Area III of the Santa Susana Field Laboratory (SSFL) encompasses a number of facilities, most of which are astronomically polluted. The drainage from Area III makes its way down Bell Canyon and into the Los Angeles River to the east. These facilities include the ECL Pond which was used for […]

SSFL Area II – Gallery B

SSFL Area II includes the rocket test stands at the Coca Area, seen here. “Three test stands were initially constructed at the Coca area in 1956 to support the development of the Navaho and Atlas engines,” according to Rocketdyne Archives. “In 1963, two of the original stands were demolished and […]

SSFL Area II – Gallery A

SSFL Area II includes the rocket test stands at the Alpha Area and Bravo Area, seen below. Operational with three test stands beginning in 1955, Alpha supported the first manned orbital flight of Atlas-Mercury in 1962. Both Alpha and Bravo areas are heavily polluted as are some of the surrounding […]

SSFL Area I – Gallery B

SSFL’s Area I consists of 671 acres owned by Rocketdyne and 42 acres owned by NASA (formerly owned by U.S. Air Force) in the northeast portion of the site. It includes the former Area I Thermal Treatment Facility and three rocket engine test areas, the Bowl, Canyon, and Advanced Propulsion […]