How Boeing Blocked a Nuclear and Chemical Cleanup in LA’s Backyard

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In 1979, a nuclear power reactor at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania suffered a partial meltdown. There was widespread anxiety nationwide. As a reporter at KNBC, Channel 4, I reported that a similar accident, a much smaller research reactor in the Santa Suzanna Mountains, had occurred 20 years earlier — near Los Angeles. Now, all these years later — after decades of studies, reports and regulatory hearings by state and federal agencies, the radioactive residue from that accident has not been completely cleaned up. There had — finally — been an agreement between the Department of Energy, Boeing, which currently owns the site, and the California Department of Toxic Substances Control — but, during the administration of Governor Jerry Brown — it's been derailed. That's according to a six-month investigation for Consumer Watchdog in Santa Monica by Liza Tucker.

The Department of Toxic Substances Control denied our request to appear on this program. However, DTSC spokeswoman Tamma Adamek did provide us with this statement:

"The Department of Toxic Substances Control is committed to a complete, science-based cleanup of the Santa Susana Field Laboratory site that fully protects public health and the environment as required by California law. We are holding NASA and the Department of Energy to requirements set in the 2010 Administrative Orders of Consent, and we are holding Boeing to the requirements of the 2007 consent order.

All of our decisions have and will continue to be made through a transparent process with full opportunity for the public to participate.

The Consumer Watchdog report issued today is fundamentally flawed. Its claim that DTSC has already approved a final cleanup plan for the Boeing portion of the site is simply mistaken. Its selective review of the record misconstrues DTSC’s actions and fails to note that state officials have met with a wide array of interests, including elected officials and the parties responsible for cleaning up the contamination."


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