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Feds Will Demolish 10 Buildings At Santa Susana Field Laboratory, Site Of 1959 Nuclear Meltdown

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A 1956 photo captures the atomic reactor building at Santa Susana as it neared completion. (Valley Times Collection/Los Angeles Public Library Collection)
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California has reached a deal with the federal government to remove 10 buildings from the contaminated Santa Susana Field Laboratory in Ventura County.

The site used during the Cold War to test rocket engines and conduct nuclear research suffered a partial nuclear meltdown in 1959.

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The location of the federally owned buildings on the Santa Susana site. (Department of Energy)

In a news release today, the state said the Department of Energy's removal of the buildings will prevent hazardous substances from being released into groundwater in the event of a fire followed by a heavy rain.

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State officials say debris from the demolished buildings will be taken out of state for disposal.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a statement:

“The surrounding communities have waited a long time for decisive action at the Santa Susana Field Lab and today’s Order represents a new and important chapter towards the full cleanup.”

CalEPA Secretary Jared Blumenfeld, in the same news release, called the agreement “a significant step forward in the cleanup of this important site.”

The Energy Department, Boeing, and NASA share responsibility for cleanup of the laboratory. The Woolsey Fire, one of the largest recorded fires in L.A. County's history, burned a good portion of the site in 2018, raising questions then about possible contamination of the surrounding areas.

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