Thursday, October 5, 2006

Report Ties Cancers to 1959 Lab Meltdown

Article in the Washington Post -- Report Ties Cancers to 1959 Lab Meltdown, by Robert Jablon of the Associated Press:

    A 1959 nuclear reactor meltdown at the Santa Susana Field Laboratory in eastern Ventura
    County may have caused hundreds of cancers in the surrounding community while chemicals
    from the site threaten to contaminate local ground and water, according to a report
    released Thursday.

    The report by an independent advisory panel estimated it was likely radiation released
    during the meltdown caused about 260 cancers within a 60-square-mile area around
    the reactor. There was a slim chance the numbers could be as high as 1,800, according
    to the report, which relied on technical modeling rather than hard data.

    The panel said the federal government and the lab's former owner, Rocketdyne, have
    refused to release many key details of the incident.

The Los Angeles Times has a more detailed treatment of the story in its article, Study Says Lab Meltdown Caused Cancer, by Amanda Covarrubias:

    Radioactive emissions from a 1959 nuclear accident at a research lab near Simi Valley
    appear to have been much greater than previously suspected and could have resulted in
    hundreds of cancers in surrounding communities, according to a study released Thursday.

    Chemical contamination from rocket engine testing at the site continues to threaten soil
    and groundwater in the area around Rocketdyne's Santa Susana Field Laboratory, the study
    also found.

    The nuclear meltdown, which remained virtually unknown to the public until 1979, could
    have caused between 260 and 1,800 cases of cancer "over a period of many decades," the
    study concluded.

The Los Angeles Times article also includes a link to a video news report from local television network KTLA.


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