September 5, 2007: Seven Republicans joined Democrats in the California State Assembly in a 50-22 vote in favor of the Santa Susana Field Laboratory cleanup bill. One of the only nuclear meltdowns in the world occurred at SSFL. With passage in the State Assembly and the State Senate, Governor Schwarzenegger shortly thereafter signed the bill into law.
The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California has just issued its long-awaited decision in the lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Energy by the Committee to Bridge the Gap, Natural Resources Defense Council, and the City of Los Angeles. The suit was filed over the inadequate cleanup of the contaminated Santa Susana Field Laboratory, site of one of the only reactor meltdowns in the world. Judge Samuel Conti declared that the DOE has violated and continues to violate the National Environmental Policy Act and permanently enjoined DOE from transferring ownership or possession, or otherwise relinquishing control over any portion of the nuclear area at SSFL until an Environmental Impact Statement has been completed.
This is great news for the environment.
On October 5, 2006 the Santa Susana Field Laboratory Advisory Panel released a series of studies about potential offsite exposures and health effects from the 1959 reactor meltdown at SSFL and other accidents, spills, and releases that occurred there. The Santa Susana Field Laboratory Advisory Panel is an independent group of epidemiologists, nuclear experts, and other specialists established by local legislators to provide independent assessment of risks from the Rocketdyne nuclear and rocket testing facility.
Click here to read the Panel’s report and the scientists’ studies
Politicized, Anti-Science Effort to Set Lax Radiation Protection Standards
The EPA requested (and funded) the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to study the state of scientific knowledge on the risks to human health of “low doses” of radiation. NAS found that there is no safe level of radiation; all doses increase the risk of cancer; and “low-level” radiation is about a third more dangerous in inducing cancer than EPA currently presumes in setting radiation standards to protect the public. You would think EPA would now tighten its regulations accordingly. You would be wrong. EPA staff has now proposed ignoring the Academy’s recommendations and setting lower radiation risk figures than the NAS had found. In 27 of 28 comparisons between the NAS findings and the EPA recommendations, the EPA proposals were more lax (i.e. would result in more risk to the public). Bridge the Gap, Nuclear Information and Resource Service, and Public Citizen have disclosed this scandal.
Click here for our joint statement.
Bridge the Gap and the Sierra Club recently discovered a proposed contract by which radioactive wastes from decommissioning the Rancho Seco nuclear plant would be sent out of state for disposal in landfills not licensed or designed for radioactive waste. This would effectively bypass a victory by CBG in state court several years ago that overturned a regulation that would have permitted such unlicensed dumping in California, and an administrative moratorium on such practices in the state that we got adopted. CBG and the Sierra Club filed a complaint with the Sacramento Municipal Utilities District (SMUD) Board [click here to see our letter], which resulted in a reversal by SMUD and a commitment not to send radioactive waste to unlicensed disposal sites [click here to see SMUD’s response]. This victory is important not only for our region, but more broadly, since other radwaste generators would likely have used “SMUD does it” as an excuse for exploiting the same loophole.
In an April 2006 presentation, CBG details exceedences of radioactive strontium-90, and a complete failure by the Water Board to take action. You can view this presentation in a variety of formats:
- Click here to view it as a .pdf (for people with slower internet connections)
- Click here to view it as a webpage (Internet Explorer works the best with this)
- Click here to download the actual powerpoint presentation (for powerpoint users)
Hearing Date : 1/19/06
Result: The Regional Water Quality Control Board refused to grant Boeing a relaxed pollution permit.
Rocketdyne has violated its pollution discharge permit from its nuclear/rocket testing site dozens of times in the last few months. The Regional Water Quality Control Board, rather than enforcing the pollution limits in the face of these persistent violations, has now proposed relaxing the rules to allow Rocketdyne to keep violating the limits for years to come. Come and speak at this public hearing to oppose this dangerous proposal. For more information, call us at (310) 478-0829 and see Bridge the Gap’s comments on the two proposals to be voted on at the hearing:
A nuclear Katrina in the Making 1/11/2006
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) today issued guidelines for responding to a radiological “dirty” bomb that would permit doses to the public equivalent to tens of thousands of chest X-rays without requiring intervention and cleanup. The federal government estimates radiation doses that large would produce cancer or leukemia in a quarter of those exposed. (This is on top of the number of cancers that would occur in the absence of the extra radiation exposure.)