Consumer Watchdog Filing Suit to Block Top Toxics Regulators From Disposal of
Radioactive Waste, Including Plutonium, From Nuclear Site
SANTA MONICA, Calif., Aug. 6, 2013
Boeing Radioactive Waste from Santa Susana Field Lab Nuclear Meltdown Site in
Simi Valley Headed to Facilities not Licensed to Accept Radioactive Waste
SANTA MONICA, Calif., Aug. 6, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --After regulators
failed to meet a 24 hour deadline set by public interest groups to stop Boeing
from demolishing and disposing of radioactive waste at facilities not licensed
to accept radioactive waste and at recycling plants,Consumer Watchdog and
Strumwasser & Woocher LLP are filing suit against the Department of Toxic
Substances Control (DTSC) and the Department of Public Health (DPH) to force
Radioactive debris from the Santa Susana Field Laboratory in Simi Valley has
already been disposed in municipal landfills, hazardous waste landfills like
Buttonwillow in Kern County, and at metal, concrete, and asphalt recycling
shops. Physicians for Social Responsibility-Los Angeles, Committee to Bridge
the Gap, and the Southern California Federation of Scientists also joined the
The complaint being filed alleges the continuing violation of the California
Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) by Respondents because they have entirely
failed to perform any of the required environmental review for the demolition
of structures at Area IV of the Santa Susana Field Lab site prior to
authorizing their demolition and disposal.
"Respondents have approved, without environmental review, the demolition and
disposal of structures that are, by Boeing's own measurements, radiologically
contaminated," the complaint says."Worse, Respondents are expressly approving
Boeing's disposal of this radiologically contaminated waste offsite to toxic
waste facilities that are neither licensed, nor designed, to accept radiologic
material.Many tons of these materials have even been sent to recycling
facilities so that these radiologically active materials enter the commercial
Consumers may be buying products or working in buildings tainted with the
contamination. "It is paramount that the public be protected from toxic, and
in this instance radioactive, harm," said Consumer Watchdog Liza Tucker. "If
the state won't live up to its mission, we must force it to do so. People
shouldn't be wearing radioactive belt buckles or working in radioactive office
Only licensed facilities with barriers to prevent any material from escaping
for 500 years can accept low-level radioactive waste in California, which has
no such facility. Hazardous waste facilities are not deep enough to safely
contain radioactive waste.
The DTSC already approved the disposal of debris from six structures at the
site. A nuclear reactor structure has also been demolished, but it is unclear
if the debris has already been shipped off site. And the
radioactively-contaminated plutonium fuel fabrication building structure
awaits a decision. Four more radioactive structures also await decisions on
disposal.Exposure to radioactive waste can cause cancer and genetic
"Plutonium 239 is by far the most dangerous radioisotope and one of the most
toxic substances known," according to Dr. Robert Dodge, Board Member of
Physicians for Social Responsibility-Los Angeles. "Once it circulates and
deposits throughout the body, it exposes the blood, kidneys, liver and spleen
to its cancer-causing alpha particle emissions."
Yesterday, Consumer Watchdog revealed that regulators at the troubled DTSC and
at DPH have been quietly allowing Boeing to demolish all of its
radioactively-contaminated structures at the Santa Susana Field Laboratory
(SSFL) site in Simi Valley and dispose of the debris at sites that are not
licensed to receive low-level radioactive waste.
The US EPA has estimated that a person exposed to the levels of radiation that
regulators and Boeing are using as radioactive release criteria could deliver
a dose up to 45 millirem per year. That is equivalent to 22 additional chest
X-rays a year and almost twice EPA's limits for public exposure from an
operating nuclear plant, but it is what DTSC, DPH, and Boeing have used to
approve sending radioactive materials offsite, Tucker said.
A report delivered to state regulators yesterday asking them to cease and
oBoeing's own data analyzed in the report indicate structures already
demolished were radioactively contaminated.
oIn April this year, at the DTSC's request, Boeing amended its procedures
for building demolition to include radiological facilities and allow them
for disposal in unlicensed sites. It gave the public no notice or
opportunity to comment.
oThe DTSC performed no environmental review of the demolition and disposal
plans in direct violation of the California Environmental Quality Act.
Read the report by Daniel Hirsch, President of Committee to Bridge the Gap
Recycling companies Gillibrand of Simi Valley, Kimco of Sun Valley, and
Standard Industries of Ventura have received material from the SSFL nuclear
site. Debris has also been shipped for disposal to the Buttonwillow hazardous
waste landfill operated by Clean Harbors Inc. in Kern County, and to municipal
or industrial waste landfills Azusa Land Reclamation, Lancaster Landfill and
Hauling, and McKittrick Waste Landfill, according to Boeing's data. None of
these facilities are licensed to accept radioactive waste.
See radioactive waste disposal map here:
For more on the DTSC and its failure to protect the public from toxic harm,
read Consumer Watchdog's reportGolden Wastelandhere:
SOURCE Consumer Watchdog
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