Area 4 of Santa Susana Field Laboratory, Chatsworth, California

Santa Susana Field Laboratory in California

Santa Susana Field Laboratory

Santa Susana Field Laboratory Area IV is a DOE site from 1955 to the present so workers are eligible to file both Part B and Part E claims.

There are two Special Exposure Cohorts at Santa Susana which cover all workers with specific cancers and at least 250 days employment specific cancers and at Area IV from January 1, 1965-December 31, 1964.

A third SEC was approved by the NIOSH Advisory Board on Radiation and Worker Health.  This is expected to become an SEC in February 2017.

The Santa Susana Field Laboratory (SSFL) is located in eastern Ventura County, California, and borders Los Angeles County. The SSFL is divided into four administrative and operational portions based on ownership and operations. Area IV was devoted to nuclear operations. It is Area IV that is covered under EEOICPA as a DOE facility.

Coverage includes, but is not necessarily limited to the following operations: The Energy Technology Engineering Center (ETEC), the Nuclear Development Field Laboratory (NDFL), and the Liquid Metal Engineering Center (LMEC). This also includes the Sodium Reactor Experiment Facility, the Kinetics Experiment Water Boiler Facility, the Water Boiler Neutron source (which is also known as the AE-6/L-85 Facility), the Organic Moderated Reactor, as well as facilities in Area IV associated with the Systems for Nuclear Auxiliary Power (SNAP) Program; the Sodium Graphite Reactor Critical Facility, the Shield Test Experiment/Shield Test Irradiation Reactor Facility, the Advanced Epithermal Thorium Test Facility, the Hot Lab Facility, the Fuel Storage Facility, the Radioactive Measurement Facility, the Radioactive Material Handling Facility, the Van De Graaff Accelerator Facility and the Radiation Instrument Calibration Laboratory.

Decontamination, decommissioning and demolition of radiological facilities in Area IV has been funded by the DOE beginning in the 1970’s, but predominantly since 1988.

Throughout the course of operations in Area IV, the potential for beryllium exposure existed.

Areas I, II and III were chiefly devoted to rocket engine testing. Area IV was devoted to nuclear development and space-nuclear applications, like the SNAPSHOT program. The first and only nuclear reactor (SNAP 10-A, or “Systems Nuclear Auxiliary Power) was developed at SSFL by DOE Contractor, North American Aviation’s rocketry and nuclear divisions, Rocketdyne and Atomics International. It was successfully launched April 3, 1965 and continues to orbit the earth today. The first and only nuclear reactor launched into space was developed at SSFL.

Currently, only Area IV of Santa Susana Field Laboratory is covered under EEOICPA. However, advocates are working to expand the covered areas to include the NASA portions of SSFL (Areas I, II and III), as more is understood about joint projects between DOE and NASA throughout history, and site-specific history. Nuclear reactors at SSFL (Area IV) were not housed in regulatory containment domes. For the purpose of understanding the limits of new technology, equipment was often tested to failure and allowed to continue running in order to record results and repeat tests – sometimes, even while radionuclides were being released.

New SEC Filed

On August 9, 2016 D’Lanie Blaze filed a new SEC petition for all Santa Susana employees.

Alternative Names

  • Nuclear Development Field Laboratory (NDFL)
  • Liquid Metal Engineering Center (LMEC)
  • Energy Technology Engineering Center (ETEC)
  • ETC
  • SSFL
  • Sodium Reactor Experiment Facility
  • Kinetics Experiment Water Boiler Facility
  • Water Boiler Neutron source
  • AE-6/L-85 Facility
  • Organic Moderated Reactor
  • Systems for Nuclear Auxiliary Power (SNAP) Program
  • Sodium Graphite Reactor Critical Facility
  • Shield Test Experiment/Shield Test Irradiation Reactor Facility
  • Advanced Epithermal Thorium Test Facility
  • Hot Lab Facility
  • Fuel Storage Facility
  • Radioactive Measurement Facility
  • Radioactive Material Handling Facility
  • Van De Graaff Accelerator Facility
  • Radiation Instrument Calibration Laboratory

Propulsion Field Lab (PPL)

DOE

DOE’s Legacy Management considered SSFL for FUSRAP.  DOE has a ETEC Closure Project webpage.

DOE Contractors

  • The Boeing Company (1996-present)
  • Rockwell International (1973-1996)
  • North American Rockwell (1968-1973)
  • North American Aviation (1955-1967)

DOL

DOL provides Part B and Part E statistics on SSFL as well as exposure information from their Site Exposure Matrix on SSFL.

EPA

The US EPA has a webpage on SSFL.

California Department of Toxic Substances Control

The Toxic Substances Control Department has a webpage on SSFL.

NASA

NASA has a SSFL Cleanup and Closure webpage.

NIOSH

NIOSH has  technical basis documents for the SSFL and two Special Exposure Cohorts (SEC) applications have been filed.

Other Links

 Documents

  1. Santa Susana Field Laboratory Former Worker Interviews-November 2011
  2. 2014 NIOSH Email Regarding Radiation Exposure
  3. 1955 letter
  4. 1956 Santa Susana map
  5. 1996 letter
  6. 2004 map
  7. Annotations of Environmental Survey Preliminary Report DOE Activities at SSFL
  8. Annual Report Rockwell International Hot Laboratory Decommissioning FY 1991
  9. Annual Report Rockwell International Hot Laboratory Decommissioning FY 1992
  10. Cold War Heroes and the Race to Space: A Time Capsule Project, a Partial history of AEC-NASA Projects and Partial History by Area of SSFL (Excerpts)
  11. Environmental Survey Preliminary Report DOE Activities at Santa Susana Field Laboratory – 1989
  12. Significant Findings of Environmental Survey Preliminary Report DOE Activities at SSFL
  13. Summary of Environmental Survey Preliminary Report DOE Activities at SSFL
  14. Verification survey of the 17th Street Drainage Area, Santa Susana Field Laboratory, The Boeing Company, Ventura County, California – 2000
  15. Verification Survey of the Building 4059 Site (Phase B); Post Historical Site Assessment Sites, Block 1; and Radioactive Materials Handling Facility Holdup Pond (Site 4614), Santa Susana Field Laboratory, The Boeing Company, Ventura County, California – 2008