The Santa Susana Field Laboratory’s 270-acre Area IV is dominated by the 90-acre Energy Technology Engineering Center where Rocketdyne’s nuclear work was performed. At the height of its activity, there were 270 numbered buildings on the site including over ten reactors, a “hot lab” where nuclear power plant fuel rods from around the country were shipped after use in order to be cut apart, and a sodium burn pit, an unlined area filled with goo where barrels of radioactive sodium were tossed in and then set ablaze by firing a rifle at the cannisters. From 1997 to 2007, it has cost $174.3 million to remediate the site though many Rocketdyne activists assert that the cleanup is haphazard and has left gross contamination in place. Current estimates are that it could cost up to $221.4 million to finally clean up ETEC enough to satisfy the requirements of the 2010 Agreements on Consent with the state Department of Toxic Substances Control to clean up the radiation and chemicals to background levels before the site is released for unrestricted use as open space and/or parkland.

Area IV borders Runkle Canyon where KB Home hopes to build 465 homes
downhill from an 11-acre drainage that eventually leads to the Arroyo Simi aquifer which is blended for use as drinking water. KB Home’s Runkle Canyon development is now called Arroyo Vista at the Woodlands.

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20 years of ongoing SSFL/Rocketdyne investigative reporting
June 1998June 2018