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Santa Susana toxic cleanup effort is a mess

Santa Susana toxic cleanup effort is a mess

Any way you cut it, the situation at the Santa Susana Field Laboratory site outside Simi Valley is a mess.

The 2,850-acre former rocket engine test center is contaminated by a vast menu of radioactive isotopes and toxic chemicals. The condition of its soil, groundwater and structures makes it one of the most challenging cleanup jobs in the state, possibly the country.

Until 2006, the site was operated by private corporations for federal agencies — chiefly NASA. The problems there began in 1959, when a nuclear reactor partially melted down, contaminating portions of the hilltop facility and spewing...

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