Is your Health worth the white picket fence?

That excitement of moving to a new place, we all have felt that at some point in our lives. What type of house do I want? What schools are around? Is it close to places I want to visit? Is it close enough to my job?

These are many things that we think about. But is it everything we should be taking into consideration? What about the past, present and future of where you want to call home. What secrets could be left behind or what may develop in the future near your home?

Imagine you live in a beautiful community surrounded by mountains. Then 2 years down the line you find out that there was a nuclear melt down in the town you moved to a few decades earlier? What would you think about regarding your health? Could this affect my state of living? What about my children’s health? A community between the San Fernando Valley and Ventura County in Sunny Southern California is going through this right now.

The Santa Susana Field Laboratory was built in 1947 and is located in the hills above Simi Valley, CA and Canoga Park, CA. It was used mainly for the development and testing of liquid-propellant rocket engines for the US Space Program. Within the compound were 10 nuclear reactors.

Between 1957 to 1964 it housed The Sodium Reactor Experiment (SRE) and was the first commercial power plant in the world to experience a core meltdown. For decades the US Department of Energy attempted to keep the knowledge of a meltdown under wraps. Thousands of pounds of sodium coolant from the time of the meltdown are still not yet accounted for. The reactor and most systems were removed in 1981 and the building was torn down in 1999. The site finally ceased research and development operations in 2006.

Although the SRE was not the only incident to happen at this site. At least 4 of the ten nuclear reactors suffered incidents and numerous fires involving radioactive materials. All of this happening and being covered up; while thousands of people who live within miles of this site are left to the unknown.

I grew up about 10-15 miles from the site. I was about 1 when we moved there in 1983. I remember playing on the school yard in the late 80’s to early 90’s and just hearing a loud roar coming from up on top of the mountain then seeing large plumes of smoke. None of us really showed any concern as it seemed normal, we would see it all the time “There goes another rocket”.

In October of 2006 The Advisory Panel for Santa Susana Field concluded that an estimated 260 cancer related deaths and with 95% confidence that 1,540 additional deaths were related bringing the total to 1,800 deaths. They also concluded that the meltdown caused the release of more than 458 times the amount of radioactivity released during the Three Mile Island accident. This is mainly contributed to the lack of proper containment protocols.

There have been more people coming forward about health problems, cancer and deaths due to unknown reasons. Parents are calling for action. People are worried for their health and their community.

Roughly once a quarter we get a small news article about how contaminated the ground is and what precautions we should take. To this day a red zone area exists where people should not go, much less build. There are petitions for more clean up to be done around the surrounding area. Only time will tell if more health issues come into play for a little area that I call “home”.

Knowing what I know now about the area we moved to, I suggest that everyone do their research. You never know what is lying in the ground, secretly hiding.

Let me ask you again, how much is your health worth for the white picket fence?