A Los Angeles journalist’s photographs are providing evidence of how the destructive Woosley wildfire could be spreading toxic and deadly contamination.
KCAL9’s Stu Mundel’s photos show the fire beginning in the proximity of the Santa Susana Field Laboratory, or SSFL. The consequences attached to such a realization are disastrous for the surrounding communities which have long fought the laboratory’s alleged contamination issue.
Here’s the breakdown. It all makes sense if you follow along.
Southern California Edison reported a disturbance the Chatsworth substation, which is located on SSFL property, a mere two minutes prior to a fire erupting. In 1959, a Sodium Reactor Experiment reactor partially melted down in the same location. KCAL9’s Stu Mundel posted pictures of the incident here:
— stu mundel (@Stu_Mundel) November 9, 2018
Why is this important?
Here’s a Google’s maps image to help lend perspective. You can see the proximity of the 1959 nuclear meltdown, the substation with the confirmed incident, and the noted starting point of the Woosley fire.
The Edison report says that a “Chatsworth substation” incident took place on Thursday, at 2:22 pm. The Woosley fire began at 2:24 pm on the same day.
That seems a bit too convenient to not be related. And if true (which seems to be the case), the implications for the surrounding communities and potentially easterly regions is tragic.
Chatsworth Substation Located On Top Of Previous Nuclear Meltdown
The Chatsworth substation sits within the perimeter of the Boeing Rocketdyne Santa Susana complex. The substation is approximately three football fields west of the Woosley fire starting point. Likewise, the substation is equally approximately three football fields east of the SRE complex, the site of the 1959 nuclear meltdown.
The substations purpose was to provide electricity to the reactor. This electricity helped to power the main grid. This, of course, was the case prior to the meltdown incident.
What does all of this mean?
Woosley Fire May Be One Massive Radioactive, Contaminated Event
The Woosley fire’s potential starting point is ground zero for gargantuan nuclear contamination. Over the years, according to Denise Duffield, Associate Director of Physicians for Social Responsibility-Los Angeles, there have been numerous other dangerous spills on the same property.
“Though we must wait for fire authorities to conclude their investigation, it is ironic that an electrical substation built for a reactor that melted down six decades ago now may now be associated with a catastrophic fire that began on the SSFL site that is still badly contaminated from that accident and numerous other spills and releases,” said Denise Duffield, Associate Director of Physicians for Social Responsibility-Los Angeles (PSR-LA.)
Nuclear reactor meltdowns, toxic spills, nuclear testing events, have amounted to decades of soil contamination at the highest of levels.
In fact, numerous studies have confirmed that increased incidents of cancer throughout communities near the site (clearly, before the Woosley fire erupted). Now the Woosley fire is emanating intense toxicity all over southern California and as far away as Massachusettes.
“Santa Susana Field Laboratory in Simi Hills was used for development & testing of rocket technology for the space program from 1949-2006, nuclear reactors from 1953-1980, & liquid metals research from 1966-1998. It ceased operations in 2006.” #woolseyfirehttps://t.co/Mo1iJK5QCt
— Bradley Allen (@BradleySA) November 9, 2018
Please call the DTSC director, Barbara Lee,(916) 322-2198* and tell her that we’re at risk and they’ve failed to warn us. The smoke has the potential for exposure to radioactive and carcinogenic contamination from Santa Susana Field Laboratory, we want that statement immediately!
— Dawn Peterson (@Dawnsgotyour) November 9, 2018
Contamination Cleanup At Woosley Starting Point Never Happened
A number of agencies, including Boeing, NASA, and the Department of Energy, were supposed to clean up the SSFL toxic mess. But that seemingly never happened, according to Duffield.
“If DTSC and those responsible for polluting SSFL had not broken their cleanup commitments, we wouldn’t be facing the prospect of contamination now being driven off-site by the fire,” said Duffield.
“The Woolsey Fire likely released and spread radiological and chemical contamination that was in SSFL’s soil and vegetation via smoke and ash,” said Dr. Bob Dodge, President of Physicians for Social Responsibility-Los Angeles. “All wildfire smoke can be hazardous to health, but if SSFL had been cleaned up long ago as DTSC promised, we’d at least not have to worry about exposure to dangerous radionuclides and chemicals as well.”
U.S Agencies Deny Woosley Fire Is Carrying Toxic Chemicals
The California Dept. of Toxic Substances Control denies that the Woosley fire is releasing radiological and chemical contamination. But DTSC has a terrible reputation with the community in terms of integrity. They were the governing body over the original 2017 cleanup that never happened. That could make them liable. And that’s incentive enough to be disingenuous considering what’s on the line in Southern California.
A History Of Cancer At SSFL
Two years ago, Melissa Bumstead started a Change.org petition to clean up the contaminated site. Doctors diagnosed Bumstead’s daughter, Grace Ellen, with a rare form of cancer at the young age of four. Bumstead, as well as a number of other parents in similar circumstances, believes the nuclear toxicity of the Boeing Rocketdyne Santa Susana complex is responsible for her daughter’s cancer.
Her petition is more active than ever now that the community is realizing the deeper ramifications of the surrounding plumes of smoke. Toxicity that was once dormant in the Santa Susana Field Lab is now potentially dark billowing deadly vapors. The thought of such a scenario sounds more like that of a Hollywood script than it does a gloomy reality. But this is no science-fiction script at all, instead, its reality for residents in Calabas and Agora Hills, and likely, so much further out.
Please see my wildfire survival guide for more information on wildfires.
Author: Jim Satney
PrepForThat’s Editor and lead writer for political, survival, and weather categories.
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