Santa Susana Nuclear Meltdown

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For 40 years, the Santa Susana Field Laboratory tested rocket engines and nuclear reactors in the hills between the San Fernando and Simi Valleys. In 1959, officials reported problems with a nuclear research reactor, but said that no employees were exposed to radiation and that no radioactivity was released outside the facility. In 1979, UCLA graduate students uncovered records indicating that there was a partial reactor meltdown, similar to that at Pennsylvania's Three Mile Island that same year. Last week, a new report says the meltdown released as much as 300 times the radiation of Three Mile Island, possibly causing 260 cancers in surrounding neighborhoods. The report is based partially on technical models to fill in details researchers can't get from the Department of Energy or the Boeing Company, which now owns the property. We get the latest in a long-running battle over technology and public health.



  • Mike Lopez - Project Manager of the DOE's Energy Technology Engineering Center
  • Dan Hirsch - UC Santa Cruz / Committee to Bridge the Gap - @ucsc


Warren Olney