Radiation Found at Hundreds of Locations at SSFL

Contamination Remains Half Century after Partial Meltdown

Cesium 137 at SSFL

Cesium-137 at SSFL over 1,000 times background.

The US EPA has announced the results of a three year survey of contamination in Area IV and the Northern Buffer Zone of the Santa Susana Field Laboratory (SSFL.) Though Boeing claimed it had cleaned everything up, EPA found hundreds of locations with contamination.

EPA found 291 soil samples with Cesium-137 contamination, at levels up to 1,000 times background and far above EPA’s remediation goals for unrestricted use. Cesium is a powerful emitter of gamma radiation and can cause cancer in any organ.

In addition, 153 samples had strontium-90 contamination, at levels up to 284 times background. also far above EPA’s unrestricted remediation goals. Stontium-90 concentrates in bone, where it can cause bone cancer and leukemia. Both strontium and cesium have half-lives of about 30 years.

At times, Boeing and it’s surrogates have claimed contamination is so widespread that one would have to “moonscape” the property to cleanup the toxic mess they had made. EPA’s data show that there is a lot of contamination that needs to be cleaned up, but it is largely found in disturbed area where the various accidents and sloppy practices occurred, and therefore relatively easy to remediate.

The Department of Energy has entered into an Agreement on Consent promising to clean up all detectible contamination, i.e., all soil EPA found with radioactivity above background. The central question now remains: Will Boeing, which has been trying to sabotage the cleanup agreements, succeed in exercising its influence within the agencies to prevent the promised cleanup from occurring, now that we know how much and where that contamination is?

Related Press Coverage

In addition, EnviroReporer.com published a ground-breaking five-part investigation, Boeing’s Meltdown Makeover, that exposes the Boeing company’s efforts to subvert the SSFL cleanup through a secret media campaign and via allies in agencies and the community.


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