Santa Susana Field Laboratory

Near Los Angeles, a test facility for rockets and (formerly) nuclear reactors

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Aerial view of the Santa Susana Field Laboratory in the Simi Hills, with the San Fernando Valley and San Gabriel Mountains beyond to the east. The Energy Technology Engineering Center site is in the flat Area IV at the lower left, with the Rocket Test Field Laboratory sites in the hills at the center. (Spring 2005)

The Santa Susana Field Laboratory is a complex of industrial research and development facilities located on a 2,668-acre (1,080 ha)[1] portion of the Southern California Simi Hills in Simi Valley, California. It was used mainly for the development and testing of liquid-propellant rocket engines for the United States space program from 1949 to 2006,[1] nuclear reactors from 1953 to 1980 and the operation of a U.S. government-sponsored liquid metals research center from 1966 to 1998.[2] The site is located approximately 7 miles (11 km) northwest from the community of Canoga Park and approximately 30 miles (48 km) northwest of Downtown Los Angeles. Sage Ranch Park is adjacent on part of the northern boundary and the community of Bell Canyon along the entire southern boundary.[3]

Throughout the years, about ten low-power nuclear reactors operated at SSFL, in addition to several "critical facilities" that helped develop nuclear science and applications. At least four of the ten nuclear reactors had accidents during their operation. The reactors located on the grounds of SSFL were considered experimental, and therefore had no containment structures.

The site ceased research and development operations in 2006. The years of rocket testing, nuclear reactor testing, and liquid metal research have left the site "significantly contaminated". Environmental cleanup is ongoing.

The public who live near the site have over the years strongly urged a thorough cleanup of the site, citing cases of long term illnesses, including cancer cases at rates they claim are higher than normal. On March 30, 2018, a 7-year-old girl living in Simi Valley died of neuroblastoma, prompting public urging to thoroughly clean up the site; despite the fact that there is insufficient evidence to identify an explicit link between cancer rates and radioactive contamination in the area.[4]

  1. ^ a b Archeological Consultants, Inc.; Weitz Research (March 2009). "Historical resources survey and assessment of the NASA facility at the Santa Susana Field Laboratory, Simi Valley, California" (PDF). NASA. p. 1. Retrieved January 25, 2010.
  2. ^ Sapere and Boeing (May 2005). Santa Susana Field Laboratory, Area IV Historical Site Assessment. p. 2. Archived from the original on December 12, 2009. Retrieved January 25, 2010.
  3. ^ "Sage.Park".
  4. ^ Simon, Melissa (13 April 2018). "Protestors want SSFL cleaned up | Simi Valley Acorn". Simi Valley Acorn. Retrieved 18 April 2018.

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