The Santa Susana Field Laboratory, home to a Cold War nuclear test site, should be all cleaned up, just 58 years after a partial nuclear meltdown. On Friday the Department of Energy, NASA, and the state signed agreements to, as the AP puts it, "remove all contamination and return the atomic energy and rocket engine test site to its natural state" by 2017. The DOE owns the meltdown-area buildings, NASA owns the rocket test sites, and Boeing, which says it's still reviewing the agreements, owns most of the land. The 1959 partial nuclear meltdown has the fine distinction of being America's first, and the LA Times cites a 2006 study that found "the accident could have resulted in 260 to 1,800 cases of cancer within 62 miles of the site over a 'period of many decades.'" (Boeing disputes the findings of that study.)
But that's not all! The AP reports that after 1959, under the operation of Rocketdyne, "there were other problematic practices and incidents, including two more reactor accidents, use of burn pits with radioactive contaminants, and a rocket-fuel explosion that killed two scientists who were illegally disposing of hazardous waste."
As part of the cleanup, "significant amounts of soil contaminated with carcinogenic dioxins, heavy metals and radioactive materials" will be removed from the site and taken to licensed waste dumps, including one in Utah, according to the LAT. The agreements have to go through a public review before being finalized. Meanwhile, cute donkeys are hard at work assessing the damage.
· Deal to clean up LA-area nuclear accident site [AP]
· Nuclear cleanup at Santa Susana facility would finish by 2017 under settlement [LAT]