LA's Own Nuclear Meltdown Revisited

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It's been 50 years since America's first nuclear meltdown in the Santa Susana Mountains, between the San Fernando and Simi Valleys. The site was a massive research installation, which tested 30,000 thousand rocket engines over the years and included ten nuclear reactors. On July 13, 1959, one of those —the Sodium Reactor Experimentsprung a leak, and was shut down. But before the problem had been resolved, the reactor was started up again. It ran for nearly two weeks without any kind of containment, like the big concrete domes that shield commercial reactors at San Onofre and other nuclear power plants. To this day, nobody knows how much gas was vented into the air, and cleanup operations still continue. We speak with reporters, environmentalists and a trainee of the facility, who was just 20 years old at the time.




Warren Olney