EnviroReporter.com exposes plots that would keep the Santa Susana Field Laboratory radioactive and chemically contaminated, saving the polluters hundreds of millions. If lab owner Boeing, government agencies, and astroturfers are successful, the toxic land could become Glow in the Dark Park or a new Chumash gambling casino. China Syndrome Town is a true tale of greed, corruption, and malfeasance that could have real life consequences for the Los Angeles region and its residents.
Agency commitments to the SSFL cleanup, radioactive debris, and Runkle Canyon dust cause a stir at SSFL Work Group meeting. Lab owner Boeing has been illegally dumping and recycling radioactive metal, concrete and asphalt which can end up in the consumer product stream as kids’ braces, bicycles and playgrounds. Radiation findings are now of special concern because KB Home has started construction on hundreds of homes on Area IV-bordering Runkle Canyon. Residents demanded answers about construction dust that is landing on their cars, solar panels and yards.
The Department of Energy, which runs nuclear Area IV of the former Rocketdyne lab, inflates the amount of radioactive and chemically contaminated dirt estimated to be excavated by three to five times. The agency also says it will consider lesser cleanup standards than its signed agreement with DTSC. Citizens cry foul and unite, despite ever-growing ugly charges made by anti-cleanup groups, to tell the government to clean up to background. China Syndrome Town will not be a walk in the park for polluters.
Boeing’s huge lobbying war chest, one of the five highest corporate lobbyist coffers in the country, has turned Cal-EPA’s Department of Toxic Substances Control into a “captured agency” say Rocketdyne activists. Community members say DTSC appeared to fold in a lawsuit brought by Boeing over Santa Susana Field Laboratory, not challenging false statements in litigation. Encouraged by this backpedaling, another SSFL polluter, NASA, tries to back out of cleanup agreement which is greeted with citizen outrage. Boeing plans to leave lethal strontium-90 in its dirt at 430 to 43,000 times background where its astroturf collaborators claim no more cleanup is needed. The amounts of carcinogens that could be left behind will be staggering if Boeing succeeds in selling SSFL as “no significant risk to human health today” as Gary Polakovic’s plan puts it.
NASA backs off its plans to irradiate 18 squirrel monkeys in a $1.75 million experiment that our Pasadena Weekly investigation found was not only cruel and scientifically useless but also redundant since an Italian space radiation experiment, using humans not harmed, had already been underway to understand longterm cosmic radiation exposure’s effects on astronauts.
The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, home of America’s greatest robotic explorations of the heavens, isn’t sold on deep-sixing the manned space program. Part Two of a special Pasadena Weekly cover story investigation that also explores the origins of NASA’s manned space program, the brainchild of an infamous Nazi rocket scientist, Wernher von Braun, whose V-2 rockets killed thousands during the London Blitz of World War II, rockets built by concentration camp slave labor who were worked to death, tortured and executed during the production of these American-coveted missiles. Von Braun is considered by NASA to be the 20th Century’s greatest rocketeer illustrating that one man’s Nazi is another man’s hero.
Critics say NASA is taking a giant leap backwards by irradiating monkeys in space-travel tests designed to simulate the intense radiation astronauts would experience in voyages to the moon and Mars. The Pasadena Weekly discovers that Italian human radiation tests aboard the International Space Station obviate the need for these crude and inhumane radiation tests on primates, the first of their kind in nearly three decades.
The future of manned space exploration may be revealed Monday when President Obama unveils his 2011 budget request for NASA. The budget’s approval by Congress may also determine the future of 28 squirrel monkeys and renewed animal radiation experiments.
EnviroReporter.com remembers the crew of the Space Shuttle Challenger that perished 24 years ago January 28, 1986. These people represent the very best of this country and of this planet. Remembering our heroes, and emulating the bravery of their deeds, is their due honor.
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.
“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.”