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DOE to Add $3 Million for Rockwell Cleanup

The U.S. Department of Energy will spend an additional $3 million this year removing chemical and radioactive contamination at the Santa Susana Field Laboratory, raising the year’s budget for cleanup of the test site west of Chatsworth to nearly $13 million, Rep. Elton Gallegly announced Wednesday.

The additional funds include about $1.1 million for a comprehensive study of ground-water contamination near the lab in the Simi Hills, operated for the Energy Department by the Rocketdyne division of Rockwell International Corp. Rockwell officials recently disclosed that traces of a chemical solvent and radioactive tritium were discovered in ground-water samples taken on a neighbor’s land near the northwest boundary of the site. Ground water there is not used for drinking.

“Although the cleanup effort remains on schedule, and although all the findings so far confirm that SSFL poses no immediate threat to public health or safety, I still believe the site must be cleaned up as quickly and as thoroughly as possible,” said Gallegly (R-Simi Valley).

Gallegly said he pressed the department for additional money after learning that $960,000 in cleanup funds were to be trimmed during the fiscal year that began Oct. 1 as part of an across-the-board cut at Energy Department sites. Gallegly was “extremely pleased” that the $3 million has been added, according to a statement issued by his office.

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Rockwell is carrying out a $44-million, multi-year cleanup of low-level chemical and ground-water contamination from past nuclear work performed for the federal government. The work also includes upgrading pollution controls on equipment still used for non-nuclear energy development projects.


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