Nuclear Meltdown Likely Caused Cancers

Nuclear Meltdown Likely Caused Cancers

A nuclear reactor meltdown in 1959 at the Santa Susana Field Laboratory may have caused hundreds of cancer cases throughout the community. Chemicals that were released threaten to contaminate the land and water.

An independent advisory panel estimated about 260 cases of cancer within a 60-square-mile area of the reactor were likely caused by radiation released during the meltdown. The reactor is located about 30 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles.

The site has been used for nuclear research and rocket engine testing since the 1940’s.

Rocketdyne, the lab’s owner at the time of the meltdown, has insisted for years that no significant amount of radiation was released. But the independent advisory panel’s report said that nearly 459 times more radiation was released in this meltdown than was released in the 1979 Three Mile Island incident.

“People have been asking for 20 years what was the impact of the meltdown, and now they will at least have an approximation of how many people may have been hurt,” said co-chairman of the Santa Susana Field Laboratory Advisory Panel, Dan Hirsch.

The panel, composed of experts from around the country, was put together by legislators in the early 1990s when concerned residents pushed for independent studies of the site’s dangers.

The energy department, the state, and Boeing, who now owns the site, have been working to decontaminate the area. The state estimates that over 1.73 million gallons of toxic trichloroethylene have been dumped there, and that the bedrock below the lab has been saturated with 500,000 gallons of it.

The panel’s study also said that local groundwater and soil might also have been contaminated. Perchlorate, a rocket fuel additive, was found in a well, but Boeing disputes claims that it came from their lab.

Last year, Boeing agreed to pay $30 million in the settlement of a lawsuit claiming that pollutants from the nearby site caused cancer in nearby residents.

Harmed by industrial site chemicals? You may be eligible to seek compensation for your losses. Please contact us for a FREE consultation with a caring and experienced personal injury attorney who can make sure your legal rights are upheld.

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