Santa Susana Field Lab Fallout
Santa Susana Field Lab Fallout from Woolsey Fire Study of Radioactive Releases – Melissa Bumstead (above) of Parents Against SSFL.
This Week’s Featured Interviews:
  • Santa Susana Field Lab – the push to clean up the 2,680 acre site continues in the wake of findings about the Woolsey fire releasing radioactive micro-particles into the surrounding Los Angeles neighborhoods.  One of the ongoing people helping to lead the fight is Denise Duffield.  She serves as Administrator for Physicians for Social Responsibility-LA’s (PSR-LA) and directs its nuclear threats program, which advocates for health protective policies related to nuclear weapons and nuclear energy.  Denise also works on environmental health and justice issues, addressing the needs of local communities who are impacted by toxic contamination and the failure of regulatory agencies to protect them. She leads PSR-LA’s efforts to ensure a full cleanup of the Santa Susana Field Laboratory (SSFL).
PSR-LA’s Denise Duffield
  • Melissa Bumstead lives within 3.6 miles of the Santa Susana Field Lab.  She became an “accidental activist” for the SSFL cleanup after her four year-old daughter was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of leukemia in 2014. She founded Parents Against SSFL and continues to lead community efforts for a complete clean-up of the Boeing – former Rocketdyne – site.  (Her daughter is now 11 years old and cancer-free.)

Numnutz of the Week (for Outstanding Nuclear Boneheadedness):

The United States doesn’t know what to do with its own radioactive nuclear waste… so why did we agree to IMPORT NUCLEAR WASTE?  Let alone from… ESTONIA???

LINKS:


Libbe HaLevy

00:00:01

Nuclear contamination right in your own backyard. Yikes. When the 2018 Woolsey fire broke out at the highly contaminated Santa Susana field lab site, only 30 miles from downtown Los Angeles. It spread smoke, Ash and dust that contained radioactive microparticles into the surrounding towns and suburbs. A new peer reviewed and published scientific study confirms that these particles traveled as much as nine miles from the site. And we’re up to 19 times more radioactive than the background radiation we live with all the time. While members of the surrounding communities worry that this might have caused or still cause cancer in their parents, partners or children, no one can say with complete certainty, whether or not that is the case, but when they ask a genuine expert, who’s been working on Saturday Susana field lab issues for decades for their advice. And she cautiously tells,

Denise Duffield

00:01:02

I told her quite honestly, I’m not able to tell you for sure one way or the other, whether Santa Susanna and contamination cause cancer. But I can tell you that the contaminants on that site, if people are exposed to them, particularly young children, particularly young girls that can cause cancer. And we do know that those contaminants get off the site.

Libbe HaLevy

00:01:23

Well when Denise Duffield of physicians for social responsibility, Los Angeles delicately explains the known facts without offering an ultimate conclusion because she can’t, you just might be within your rights to assume that one plus one might equal two. And this is further evidence of how closely you have been living to that dangerous seat that we all share

Announcer

00:01:48

Clear hot seat. What are those people thinking? Nuclear hot seat. What have those boys been braking clear, hot? Hotsy the Cari Ms. Sinking our time to act is shrinking, but nuclear Hotsy, it’s the bomb.

Libbe HaLevy

00:02:19

Welcome to nuclear. Hotseat the weekly international news magazine, keeping you up to date on all things nuclear from a different perspective. My name is Leebee Halevi. I’m the producer and host as well as a survivor of the nuclear accident at three mile island from just one mile away. So I know what can happen when those nuclear so-called experts get it wrong. This week, a follow-up to our special from two weeks ago, episode number 5 39, which presented the findings of a published peer reviewed scientific study showing the release of radioactive contamination. You might call it fallout from the saddest field lab in Simi valley, California during the 2018 Woolsey fire. We’ll review the findings of that study of 360 soil dust and Ash samples, and then learn about what’s been happening in the aftermath of that report. We’ll talk with Denise Duffield who serves as positions for social responsibility, Los Angeles administrator directed nuclear threats program, and has been involved in the Woolsey fire study since the fire was still burning.

Libbe HaLevy

00:03:27

And we will of course talk with Melissa. Bumstead a local mom who helped to found parents against Santa Susana field lab, and she tells us what’s been happening in the local community. The response to the report, the questions, the emotions, which are running high and the promise of some powerful followup by those most in the line of danger, we will also have nuclear news from around the world numnuts of the week for outstanding nuclear bone headedness, and more honest nuclear information than we have yet heard from the so-called experts at the cop 26 United nations climate change summit. All of it coming up in just a few moments today is Tuesday, November 2nd, 2021. And here is this week’s nuclear news from a different perspective here in the U S decommissioning efforts for the Humboldt bay power plant unit three in California began in June, 2009, more than 30 years after the power plant had ceased operations.

Libbe HaLevy

00:04:28

And now is finally officially decommissioned Pacific gas and electric company recently filed a request with the nuclear regulatory commission to terminate the power plants license, but that doesn’t do anything about the waste it’s currently buried in an underground nuclear waste storage facility known as the Humboldt bay, independent spent fuel storage installation, or something like that. They say it will effectively contain the 37 tons of nuclear waste for approximately 50 years, but that’s not a permanent solution. When plutonium has a half-life of 24,000 years to be continued again this week, a lot of substantive articles that we’re going to link to. So you have a chance to read your way through it. There’s nuclear power plant operators want to run for eight decades, but a federal lab in Washington state found critical gaps in knowledge about how reactors age climate change emergency includes the threat of nuclear winter. Carol Grossman’s excellent. Counterpunch article the push for nukes in space. And then there’s always

Libbe HaLevy

00:05:46

The United States has tons of nuclear waste stored at reactors and inappropriate stores sites around the country. We’ve got more waste than we know what to do with. So what are we doing? We’re planning to import more of it. And from Estonia to make things worse, the importing company, energy fuels resources wants to bring that material into the white Mesa, mine near the grand canyon and adjacent to land of the Havasu PI people which has already filed numerous complaints and legal challenges against the mine for polluting the water supply and harming their ancestral lands. Domestic radioactive waste has been spilled along the main highway from trucks, hauling material from Wyoming to white Mesa for processing and children can no longer play outside because of the stench and the fear of what might be causing it. Now, the company wants to import 2000 to drums, 615 metric tons of radioactive waste from Estonia, which has no licensed facilities capable of processing its waste.

Libbe HaLevy

00:06:56

First. However, the company has to amend its radioactive materials, license, and Utah’s division of waste management and radiation control has been very accommodating. They received a huge volume of public comments. Once people learned about this issue nearly 12,000 of them, opposed compared to only 300 in support still it granted energy fuels resources request this past summer because you know, money, according to camarones afar, former staff attorney for the environmental nonprofit grand canyon trust energy fuels resources is exploiting a regulatory framework that classifies radioactive byproducts as quote unquote alternative feed rather than conventional uranium more. And they claim that they are getting out trace amounts of uranium that are left, that other disposal facilities couldn’t meaning from the Estonian waste. But what they’re really doing is the fire said is getting paid to dispose of the vast majority of that waste at the white Mesa mill permanently. And because they’re not a properly licensed radioactive waste facility, they can do it at much cheaper cost than the other facilities could. More than 99 point 73% of the ship material from Estonia will be stored at white Mesa. And that’s why energy fuels resources and any government agencies that allow them to move forward. In this way. You are this week’s,

Libbe HaLevy

00:08:31

Awake. All those titles I mentioned, plus numb nuts will be linked on our website, nuclear hotseat.com. This episode is number 5 41 in Japan, industry minister Koichi hug UDA pledged to promote the decommissioning of the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant and recovery of the area. As a top priority. He told Fukushima massage Uchi body that his ministry will make best efforts to release radioactive water from the facility that was hit by a massive earthquake and tsunami in March of 2011. And he was asked to take effective measures against the reputational damage associated with the plan discharge of what they’re calling treated water, which is really still radioactively contaminated with tritium water. Current plans are for Japan to begin releasing that tritium water into the Pacific ocean. As of the spring of 2023 international pushback to this plan continues and we’ll link to an article nuke disaster. Radiation continues to threaten traditional ways of life in north east Japan, more nuclear reporting from Turkey by our friend.

Libbe HaLevy

00:09:44

where for the second time in just six months, another fire broke out at the nuclear power plant construction site. This time due to an explosion in the transformer, the construction company claims that it was caused by a lightning strike to the energy transmission line and partially damaged the infrastructure of the power lines in the substation area. Since 2019 cracks have been detected in the foundation onsite water leaks on the ground work accidents and two explosions. But despite concerns raised the air Oregon administration still holds that the nuclear power plant, which was scheduled to be operational on the 29 October Republic day in 2020 in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Republic will be completed before they update reporter Demir Xian responds. This will be used as election propaganda, and Scotland’s only working nuclear power plant at torness shut down in an emergency procedure. When jellyfish clog the seawater cooling intake pipes at the plant blooms of translucent jellyfish with their trailing stinging tentacles are sometimes described as invasions because they often emerge on mass in a way that appears sudden often these blooms are encouraged by the warmer water that comes from cooling water that is EG acted from a nuclear facility.

Libbe HaLevy

01:11:09

So the nuclear reactor is creating its own problem. Jellyfish previously, shut down the torness nuclear power plant in 2011 at a cost of approximately 1.5 million American dollars per day. Swarms of these invertebrates have also been responsible for nuclear power plant shutdowns in Israel, Japan, the United States, the Philippines, South Korea and Sweden, which gives us all hope, which gives us all hope because if spineless brainless, bloodless animals like jellyfish can shut down a nuclear reactor, think of how much more we can do once we all start working together. Now here’s the first of this week’s two featured interviews two weeks ago on nuclear hot seat, number 5 39, we presented a special on the findings of a peer reviewed and published scientific paper on the radiological contamination that spread over local Los Angeles neighborhoods during the 2018 Woolsey fire. The fire began on the 2,670 acre former rocket dine testing site in the foothills above Los Angeles and less than 30 miles from downtown in 1959, an experimental nuclear reactor onsite experienced a meltdown of its core fuel rods.

Libbe HaLevy

01:12:33

The radiation released was not held in a containment building because there was no containment building. So they vented it out into the air without notification to the people living nearby. The accident was never reported and was only discovered 20 years after it happened after three mile island that meltdown plus numerous radioactive spills and burn pits for radioactive waste onsite created a highly toxic brew of chemical and radiological contamination in the dust, dirt, water and vegetation. The Woolsey fire broke out on the Santa Susana field lab site and burned through plants and radioactive areas though, not the most contaminated parts parents against Santa Susana field lab. The group that has been fighting for a full cleanup of the site, which current owner Boeing has been trying to get downgraded. So they don’t have to pay as much money. That group immediately suspected release of contaminants into the smoke, which wafted in all directions.

Libbe HaLevy

01:13:38

I live approximately 30 miles to the east of the site and the wind was blowing in the west southwesterly direction, but I could smell smoke on that first day of the fire within hours of it start, of course, the officials so-called experts from California’s department of toxic substance control. DTSC for short announced within nine hours of the start of the fire when they couldn’t even get on the site, that there was no radiation release. So they’re there. Missy, don’t worry your pretty little head about it, but less than three weeks after the fire broke out, citizen scientists conducted a collection of 360 random samples of soil Ash and car filter dust within a 10 mile radius of the saddest Susana field lab. Now, after three years of testing, compiling data and writing up a report, that material has been peer reviewed and accepted for publication in the journal of environmental radioactivity.

Libbe HaLevy

01:14:37

The report shows that 3% of the samples were contaminated with radioactive microparticles, some as much as 19 times above background levels and found as far as nine miles away from the border of the site. So what has been the immediate impact of this bombshell report? That’s what we’re about to find out. Our first guest today is Denise Duffield. She serves as physicians for social responsibility, L A’s administrator direct his nuclear threats program and also advocates for health protective policies related to nuclear weapons and nuclear energy. Denise also works on environmental health and justice issues addressing the needs of local communities, which are impacted by toxic contamination and the failure of regulatory agencies to protect them. She leads PSR L A’s efforts to ensure a full cleanup of the satis Susanna field lamp. I spoke with Denise Duffield on October 28th, 2021, Denise Duffield. Thank you for joining us on nuclear hot seat.

Denise Duffield

01:15:43

My pleasure to be here

Libbe HaLevy

01:15:46

Along has PSR physicians for social responsibility, been working towards a cleanup of the saddest Susanna field lamp.

Denise Duffield

01:15:55

We’ve been involved since the late seventies, when the meltdown was first discovered by Dan Hirsch. Our organization has always been close with committee to bridge the gap committee to bridge the gap had a role actually in our founding working with our founder, Dr. Richard Saxon, who lived in the valley. And so I was also personally concerned about Santa Susanna. The real activism began in the late eighties around the organizing to stop the reliance syncing of the hot lab. And that’s also when the rocket dying cleanup coalition was founded and PSR is an organizational ally part of that coalition along with of course, community members who live near the site, we need to bridge the gap and the Southern California Federation of scientists.

Libbe HaLevy

01:16:39

One of the groups that’s been most active lately, or at least most visible lately is parents against the Santa Susana field lab. What has been PSRs connection with that group?

Denise Duff

01:16:51

We provide leadership development and technical assistance to parents versus SFL. It was, I believe in 2015, when there was a meeting of the, which is the agency for toxic substances and disease registry. And they had been asked to come in to the Santa Susanna community by some folks who opposed the cleanup they’d been asked to come in and basically refute previous studies on health impacts and offsite contamination, and then weighing in on the cleanup, which is absolutely outside of that agency’s purview. It is an agency that is known for doing sort of quick and shoddy studies to declare the all clear on contaminated sites. And so we mounted what thought at that time was going to be very hard, very much an uphill battle, but we were successfully able to get them to back out. But it was at that first meeting when Melissa Bumstead and Lauren Hammersley, and several other mothers first showed up and talked about their experience about meeting each other at children’s hospital and realizing that they lived near each other and that they all live near the Santa Susana field lab.

Denise Duffield

01:18:07

And at that time, those of us who’ve been doing this fight for a long time. We just turned white because we’d heard this story before this exact same story of mothers meeting at children’s hospital. And in this case in 2006, they were mothers whose children all had retinoblastoma, which is a rare eye disease impacting young children. They even had a chemo carpool, and they ultimately ended up suing Boeing. And from the documentation we’ve been able to see did prevail on that lawsuit, but we’re no longer able to talk about it as part of the settlement. So hearing this happening again, just felt sick to our stomach. And I approached, Melissa gave her my card and I think it was maybe some weeks after that, she sent me an email and we had further communications. And I told her quite honestly, I’m not able to tell you for sure one way or the other, whether Santa Susanna and contamination, both cancer, but I can tell you that the contaminants on that site, if people are exposed to them, particularly young children, particularly young girls that can cause cancer.

Denise Duffield

01:19:17

And we do know that those contaminants get off the site and there’s multiple exposure pathways. And some of those exposure pathways that happen when it’s very windy and the contaminants in the soil made a loft be a dust. Of course, if you ingest that, that becomes a much higher dose than you would have. If you just walked by a contaminated particle. Also rain brings a contamination off the hill as well. And of course fires, which we know now, and there was in 2005, Santa Susanna had burned previously. We know that and development near the site, which has been my number one concern, particularly for this group of children, because we know that the development for Runkle ranch that was found in the soil by previous would be developers during the construction. We had people calling us, telling us, Hey, there’s, there’s dust all over my solar panels.

Denise Duffield

02:20:12

They had read the articles about the strontium 90. So part of my concern is that part of what may have caused some of the recent pediatric cancers has to do with that development. But the bottom line is we are able to say with certainty, the contaminants on that site can cause cancer. If you’re exposed to them and the contaminants do get offsite and people are exposed to them. And that’s why our focus is on the cleanup. And so little by little Melissa began to get more involved, formed her group. It’s now become a force to be reckoned with she and Jenny and Lauren and other mothers are just tremendous advocates for their community. Really know what’s best for the community in ways that I necessarily don’t. There’s one story I like to tell, which is a good example of why it’s so important to have leadership on the ground.

Denise Duffield

02:21:06

When we were planning for the 60th anniversary of the meltdown event, Melissa and other parents said they wanted a fun family friendly event. And I, as it from PSR was like, I don’t know if you can do that. This is a nuclear meltdown. This is great people die, you know, and they did, they pulled it off. They had an event that had rock painting and men with kids painted rocks and honor of friends that had cancer or workers who had trouble. They had postcard writing, they had Kona, ice and art, and we had moving speakers too. So to me, it was really a good example of how she knew her community. They know their community and I can provide technical assistance. I can say, here’s where these reports are. This is the history of this site. This is what we know about the science, but I don’t live in that community.

Denise Duffield

02:21:59

And she does. And so the partnership between parents versus SSL and PSR LA has really evolved as time has gone on to the point now where they’re leading everything, parents versus SFL make their own decisions on their campaigns. They know their community best and the information and the support and the information that I have to impart in terms of both knowledge and skills is still helpful, but they have grown now to the point and expanded their own knowledge sets so much that the role that we play now is really more a supportive role in whatever way we can do. And that includes being a fiscal sponsor so that they can raise funds to do the initiatives that they want to do.

Libbe HaLevy

02:22:43

The study was just published in a peer review journal of the analysis of dust and dirt and Ash samples that were taken after the Woolsey fire. What was PSRs involvement in the creation of that study and your involvement since it has been published in a peer review journal?

Denise Duff

02:23:06

Well, it’s the backup a little bit PSR Lay’s involvement was in the whole disaster. That was the Woolsey fire was first of all, we were the ones to break the news that that fire was not near the Santa Susana field lab. It was on the Santa Susana field lab. We were able to piece together information. The initial news reports kept saying, you know, alpha and eroder or near rocket dying. And we had people watching the TV news as the helicopters were flying over it and showing the flames up around the rocket test stands and a helicopter reporters do, Mondell said, oh, I’ve been getting some calls about radiation. You know, that’s just rumors folks. And so somebody said, you know, Stewman Dallas said, these are just rumors. So I went on his Twitter page to try to contact him. And that’s where I found the photo that he had taken right as the fire started, as he was flying on his way to another one.

Denise Duff

02:24:00

And we know that land, and we were like, that is on the site. Proper. We’d heard that there was a disturbance at the Chatswood was sub station. And it was able to find out the Chatsworth substation is on the property that, that substation was built to deliver the power from the reactor that melted down to the city of Moorpark. And so we knew, so that was our first involvement. What really wasn’t breaking that news. We received calls from concerned citizens and from Fairwinds who had been contacted by those concerns citizens shortly thereafter. And so our role then was sort of to be help coordinate the community volunteers that were going out and taking a sample studies, you’ll see a Mikey Rincon, PSR leaf policy researcher, and some of the photos that have been in some of the news articles, working with Jenny knack from parents versus SSL. Mikey also lives in thousand Oaks. So it was personal to him. We helped more or less coordinate that all of the protocol, information and training, all of that came from Fairwinds and all the work itself was done by volunteers and volunteers who offered their homes. But our role was much more of an in between facilitating one. And of course, since the studies come out, we wrote a press release. We put it out there, several good pieces of coverage, including NBC Los Angeles, which did a fantastic five minute segment

Libbe HaLevy

02:25:27

Among the actions that were taken with the release of this new study. There was a letter drafted that was sent to Cal EPA, California environmental protection agency who sent it, who pulled it together. And what did it say?

Denise Duffield

02:25:42

There were two letters. One was a federal letter that was from federal elected officials that was signed by Senator Pedea, Congresswoman Julia Brownley, Brad Sherman, whose district it’s in three other congresspeople. That effort was led by Sherman and brown. These office together. Julie Brown has been fantastic on this and always has been in, so has red Sherman. And so they jointly circulated that to their colleagues. The other letter that was signed by local officials to venture a county supervisors, mayors to the council members from LA and from other cities that was spearheaded by Linda Parks, ventured county, supervisor, Linda Parks, she and her office had the responsibility for circulating that and getting all of those signatures.

Libbe HaLevy

02:26:29

What was PSRs involvement

Denise Duffield

02:26:31

With the letters, getting them out to the world? I mean, you know, we, we have communications with our elected officials about what some of the issues are. So we’re always communicating to them the problems with, for example, the cleanup standards. So that was some of the information that was in the letters came from information that we’ve been talking to them about expressing our concerns, but they wrote the letters, they got the signatures, they drafted the letters, they sent them out. We just help amplify that to the media.

Libbe HaLevy

02:27:00

The information in these letters, regards to the ongoing secret negotiations between the state between Gavin Newsome’s administration and Boeing that could have the effect of further delaying or lessening the cleanup, allowing Boeing to walk away from cleaning up. Most of the contamination, fill us in on what that looks like and how can something this important be conducted in secret.

Denise Duffield

02:27:27

It shouldn’t be, I guess, in the same way that a contaminated site can allow it to remain contaminated for 60 years, things happen that shouldn’t happen. There should be no secret negotiations with Boeing. The people who are most impacted by these decisions need to, if not be in the room when they’re made, there needs to be an official process by which they weigh in. And that’s not an environmental impact report. By the time that this information, what they’re doing with their negotiating gets its way into an environmental impact report. It’s almost too late. So it’s an outrage that they’re doing this. We can even, the cleanup happens on a very technical level. And these are some questions that you should ask Dan Hirsch. When you talk to him to explain how it is that this happens, because it’s something that I get like kind of here, but people need to understand it.

Denise Duffield

02:28:15

You know, here, I’m moving my hand for those, those who are listening, but basically there’s factors that go into determining a cleanup that depend on the uptake value of plants in your garden, how much would be used for consumption. What percentage of that should go into calculating how much contamination can be cleaned up? And if any of those input factors are adjusted, it has dramatic consequences for how much contamination gets cleaned up. So at the end of the day, Cali, PA DTSC and Boeing can say, we’re doing a residential cleanup, but not all residential cleanups are the same, depending on what you’re putting in for the backyard garden, depending on what kind of factors you’re using when you make those calculations. And the devil is always in the details. And that’s where we really rely on experts like committee to bridge the gap and the many wonderful staff that Dan has now that can analyze these documents and, and be in conversations with Kelly PA and DTSC and pointed out to them and say, Hey, this is wrong.

Denise Duff

02:29:17

And so what we’ve experienced with Cali PA is pretty much like a, it’s almost like whack-a-mole where they propose one reason why they want to change the cleanup standards. And we say, Nope, that doesn’t work, but you didn’t take this into effect. They go back to their corner, they come back with something else. And the feeling that I have is perhaps the deal’s already made. And now they’re just in the point of trying to justify it. And that’s why, if it’s not one, we point out the problems in that it becomes something else. And I think there are people that work at the agency that are obviously good people that work at the agency, but there’s other folks that are sort of on what we call the Weeby level, which is they can say to any administration, we be here before you, we be here after you, you know, so we do what we want.

Denise Duff

03:30:01

And that’s where a lot of the bad things happen. So people who are the director of DTSC, even the secretary of Cal EPA, they’re going to look at those recommendations from their staff and take them as face value. And they shouldn’t, and we’re the ones that can point out why they shouldn’t. They then are in a position of having to either go back to their staff and have some issues there, or just covering up and say, no, we’re going to go with it. And unfortunately, that’s, what’s been happening lately. So I hope that we’re in a position. I hope that these particular, that the elected officials who are really taking a stand are able to stop these negotiations and stop this funny math. And it’s going into weakening the cleanup standards before it happens that the deal hasn’t already been struck because the public will have an opportunity to weigh in on another environmental impact report probably in the fall or the winter. But if this bad information gets into it, it just makes it that much harder.

Libbe HaLevy

03:30:59

Going back to the fact that this report was released just less than two weeks ago, as we are speaking, what has been the most immediate impact of it on the community. And has there been any impact that you know of on the official agencies that are connected with the clinic?

Denise Duffield

03:31:20

The community is angry. They’re not shocked because nobody trusted DTSC in the first place. It’s not just seen as Suzanne. I mean, contaminated sites in frontline communities throughout the state are outraged with DTSs failure to protect them for really placing polluters over people. Nobody trusted DTSC when the fire had only been burning for nine hours and they basically gave the all clear, didn’t even tell people to wear masks, which would be advisable in any fire situation. Didn’t trust them, then don’t trust them now. So the community’s upset, they’re angry, but they’re not surprised in terms of the agencies, you know, from the statements I’ve seen so far, they’re just doubling down and sticking by their propaganda that they published six weeks after the fire, and then doubled down on last year. I don’t know that it’s going to have an impact on them at all for the community. I think it just reaffirms that we can’t trust DTSC.

Libbe HaLevy

03:32:16

I was the media coverage

Denise Duffield

03:32:17

Been again. I think that the NBC Los Angeles piece was fantastic. BC star daily news, both did articles that were great. They vary in terms of what aspects they focus on. I think that the world that we live in today with the multiple crises that we’re facing, make a story about radiation being released over a populated area during a wildfire three years ago, far less impactful than it would have been if we weren’t heading democracy on the line. If we weren’t having, you know, crazy climate crises impacting us, if we didn’t have so many of the other problems that we have now, it’s a different environment. I think there’s a certain crisis or disaster, you know, fatigue that it impacts all of us, whether you’re members of the public and the media and that it would have had a different reaction and a different weight. If this would have been like say five years ago, six years ago, now we’ve got so many researchers with really terrible problems, environmental problems in particular.

Libbe HaLevy

03:33:21

Was there any coverage from the LA times there

Denise Duffield

03:33:24

Wasn’t? Well, there was a little mention at semi Roth has a newsletter and it was included in that the times has had some, some decent coverage of Santa Susanna. Michael Hiltzik has run some articles we have had, I think it was an earlier piece this year by Sandy Roth, but we did not have coverage from the times on this story.

Libbe HaLevy

03:33:43

What can listeners do to keep this issue in the media, in front of the public and be of support, be a genuine support to you and the families that live in the area

Denise Duffield

03:33:55

For one letters to the editor are very effective. We see, for example, the Simi valley acorn ran a piece entirely about a gentleman who Brian Sujatha, who was worked for Boeing for 17 years as the project manager for the SFL cleanup, and is now repurposed himself as a concerned community member. And it was a piece just about how great the site is, how great the cleanup is, how they’re protecting nature. That deserves a response, you know, and we did get some letters to the editor. So I think either letter in response, you can write a letter to the editor. You can just write one. Hey, why didn’t you guys study? What didn’t you cover? This? This is important news. I think parents versus SFL his Facebook page and their list is one of the best places that people can go to get, as it happens, breaking news about the site PSR only, we’re not going to get update our website that quickly.

Denise Duff

03:34:46

We’re not going to be on, you know, we do a lot of work, but they have an amazing Facebook group and Facebook page where there’s always late breaking news. And there’s always when we need somebody to contact an elected official. And that’s the other thing, even though we have really good champions for the cleanup, it doesn’t hurt to, to let your elected no elected official, know that you care about this and you want the site to be cleaned up and you can either thank them for signing that letter. Or you can say, I really need you to stand up for us more. This site needs to be cleaned up. They’re called representatives for a reason. They represent the people. And there is someone who represents you, dear listener, there are multiple people that represent you and they need to hear from you. If they’re going to represent you, they need to know what your concerns are. And that means you need to tell them

Libbe HaLevy

03:35:34

Denise Duffield, you have been a supporter, a resource, a booster, and an important person in the interconnect of so many people who have been working to get Santa Susana field lab cleaned up to the highest standard possible. And unfortunately the work’s not over, but at least that will give us a chance to talk again in the future for the listeners of nuclear Hotsy. Thank you so much for being my guest today. My pleasure. Thank you, Denise Duffield of physicians for social responsibility, Los Angeles we’ll have this week, second featured interview on the reactions and fallout from the peer reviewed Santa Susana field lab, Woolsey fire study in just a moment, but first nuclear weapons, reactors, uranium mining, radioactive waste accidents, permissible, quote, unquote, radiation exposures. The list of nuclear dangers and disasters is as endless as plutonium, which remains dangerously radioactive for 240,000 years yet, despite the known risks of this technology, the industry perpetuates itself, making obscene amounts of money while threatening the future of the planet and life itself and disguising itself with endless propaganda.

Libbe HaLevy

03:36:53

That’s why nuclear hot seat is here to help, you know, what’s going on in the nuclear world and what you can do about it. We’re dedicated to giving you the nuclear stories you can’t find in mainstream media. And we provide them with context and continuity. So you can understand the full picture. In addition to a much deeper and nuanced telling Ben you would ever expect to find on mainstream media. We always include a healthy dose of skepticism and a dollop of humor whenever possible. We cover not only what the industry is doing, but how brave activists around the world are fighting back and how any one of us that means you sitting there and listening to this can take action toward stopping the nuclear madness, but here at nuclear hot seat, we need your help to get doing this work. It’s not inexpensive. So here’s something that you can do right now.

Libbe HaLevy

03:37:46

Go to nuclear hot seat.com, click on the big red donate button and help us with a donation of any size. You can also set up a recurring donation as little as $5 a month that Hey, that’s like buying us a cup of coffee and giving a nice tip to the barista here in the U S so if you value in depth reports, like the ones we’re giving you here, please do what you can now and know that however much you can help. I’m deeply grateful that you’re listening and that you care. Here’s this week’s second featured interview. I wouldn’t dream of reporting on anything regarding Sadducees and a field lab without checking in with Melissa Bumstead. Melissa became an accidental activist for the SSF El cleanup. After her four-year-old daughter was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive of leukemia in 2014, Melissa founded parents against SFL and extremely active group with a well-organized highly informative Facebook group and a website. I spoke with Melissa. Bumstead about the Woolsey fire, the new study, and it’s ongoing aftermath on October 29th, 2021, Melissa. Bumstead great to be talking with you again for nuclear hot seat.

Melissa Bumstead

03:39:01

Thank you for having me, man. I love talking with you. Let’s hear it out

Libbe HaLevy

03:39:05

Again with a little bit of background. You have been working towards getting the grounds of the Sadducees and a field lab cleaned up of its radiation contaminants and its chemical contaminants for years now, since long before the Woolsey fire, what was your first awareness of that fire? And what were your concerns?

Melissa Bumstead

03:39:25

I’m trying to remember who called me that day? I remember we were standing in the kid’s karate studio and I said, hold on, I gotta take this call and stepped out and you could just start to smell the smoke. And the person on the phone said, the Woolsey fire is burning through the Santa Susana field lab. And my heart just dropped. That was very, very frightening. And I ended up spinning that whole night, trying to reach from one contact to another, to try to get a hold of the state air quality board, to see if they would issue some sort of warning that parents should not let their children out. Because at that point, the smoke wasn’t so pervasive that kids could probably still go to school. The next day, we didn’t really realize how out of control the fire would grow to be. But at the time I was worried that nobody would think twice about letting their children walk to school or play on the playground or any of those things that could potentially expose them to radioactive smoke or Ash from the fire. They said, no, they didn’t do it.

Libbe HaLevy

04:40:22

And your assumption from the start was that with the fire burning through that particular site, there would be radiation in the smoke in the Ash

Melissa Bumstead

04:40:32

And potentially chemical contamination as well.

Libbe HaLevy

04:40:35

When did you first learn that only nine hours after the flare began? The California department of toxic substance control was already issuing a statement that there was no release of radioactivity or toxic chemicals from the fire.

Melissa Bumstead

04:40:49

When I got up the next morning, I read that. And of course I didn’t believe them. So I actually called the Ventura county fire department hazmat unit because that’s to the DTSC referenced as one of their resources for declaring it safe. They had never talked to anyone from the DGSE. They had no idea that the SFL was potentially contaminated. Then I called the Los Angeles hazmat unit. They don’t have a hazmat unit like that. So I went on Facebook and shared that neither unit had spoken with the DTSC yet the DTSC referenced them as the definitive source. At that time for saying that the Woolsey fire had no chance of being contaminated the next day, there was a new release from the DTSC and had no mention of either the F D or the Ventura county fire department has met units. They referenced new sources that would declare it to be completely safe. And then they also included the fact that they had not yet been able to access their actual air monitoring equipment because of the fire, but they were already saying it was safe

Libbe HaLevy

04:41:54

In the immediate aftermath of the fire, or perhaps while it was still burning, who first contacted the Gunderson’s at Fairwinds energy education and or Dr. Marco called telephone of the Worcester Polytechnic Institute about conducting a study of the soil dust and Ash for possible radioactive contaminants.

Melissa Bumstead

04:42:16

I believe residents in Malibu or the first to contact them. And then the Gunderson’s and Dr. contacted Denise with physicians for social responsibility, Los Angeles, and wanted to know if we wanted to get involved.

Libbe HaLevy

04:42:31

And of course the answer was yes. How did it proceed from there? And how soon were the first samples taken?

Melissa Bumstead

04:42:38

Well, we wanted to make sure that whatever we did was completely foolproof. We didn’t want the DTSC to be able to come back and point to any flaw or fault in our soil collecting or, or any of the process. So that’s when we first brought in Jenny knack, who is amazing, she’s been committed to helping us with the cleanup for the last three years. And she has a background as an anthropologist and has done archeological digs. So that just seemed like a natural donations from the community. We were able to hire her and she went out with several different volunteers from the community and was very strict with the protocol that that woman is organized. She either oversaw or went to herself to get almost every residential sample that we got from the Woolsey fire. I think that was happening within maybe two to three weeks after the fire.

Libbe HaLevy

04:43:30

And there had been no major rain storm or wind storm in that period to affect where the samples were taken from and what the radiation was that possibly had come down and would be shown by the samples.

Melissa Bumstead

04:43:45

Well, the Woolsey fire itself, I think it raged for days. I don’t even remember exactly how many days, but by the time the fire was out, it was also because the winds were gone. So no, there was no big rain or when after that.

Libbe HaLevy

04:44:00

So that was a pretty pure and immediate sample that was taken from all of the 360 locations. What was your involvement in the citizen science of collecting samples? I,

Melissa Bumstead

04:44:12

He was not actually that involved with the collecting of samples. I joined Jenny a few times and she told me what to do. And I did it being organized really isn’t my big skillset. So I let her be the boss and she was fantastic at it. What happened during that same amount of time is that my friend Stacy Hirsch, and I went on a social media campaign to try to warn residents about the potential of breathing in contaminated smoke and more of them to get in 95 masks. We wanted to make sure that they were keeping their kids inside during recess, through that the Kardashians saw one of our tweets and they retreated it so immediately. We’re getting hundreds of thousands of tweets and followers. And we’re getting calls from news channels who want to know who are these people, who the Kardashians are tweeting about? So, on, on my end, we were mostly dealing with press and social media. Jenny was working hard in the field.

Libbe HaLevy

04:45:09

I believe the Kardashians also have a family compound that was in the smoke plume from the Woolsey fire. So it was personal to them,

Melissa Bumstead

04:45:19

Kim Kardashian. So the mom also lived nearby. She had her house tested for soil samples, Jenny and I went and did that. And then also Courtney Kardashian, her children go to school in the fire zone and Kim Kardashians. So they were all very concerned. They had a close family friend whose husband had died from a very random and rare cancer. They were very well aware that the cancer rates out here already seemed wrong to them. So when the fire hit, they were incredibly concerned. We even actually got to go on a TV show with them, were on the Kardashians. How crazy is that?

Libbe HaLevy

04:45:55

It’s been three years now. And the study of those samples has just been published as of October 8th in the journal of environmental radioactivity press materials were released as of October 12th. And of course we’ve been covering it here on nuclear hot seat. What has been the response to this reveal of the impact of the buyer and the possible contamination in their own backyards?

Melissa Bumstead

04:46:22

We were very fortunate. Joel Grover from the NBC four Los Angeles investigative team he’s already done. I think, 10 different episodes about the Santa Susana field lab. He’s very knowledgeable. So he knew immediately when this study came out, how important it would be. It was the training story for that day, I believe for a few days after. And I think it helped people understand that the Santa Susana field lab, it’s not some urban legend or myth, the contamination can reach into our community, became an immediate threat to a lot of people who I think assumed they didn’t need to choose a side of the fence, the results from the Woolsey fire soil study. It didn’t give them that option anymore.

Libbe HaLevy

04:47:03

What has other media coverage been like? Has it remained in public awareness or has it faded even this few weeks later

Melissa Bumstead

04:47:12

And get a lot of press coverage? We had a front page article in the Ventura county star, the Los Angeles daily news covered it. An article by Sammy Roth and LA times mentioned it. So it had a lot of coverage, but mostly I would say that now it’s the people who are still concerned and I’m getting messages every day on Facebook and through social media and emails saying, am I safe? What do I need to do? Do we need to move? You know, and it’s, those are the hardest questions because I can’t give a definitive answer. I can only point back to the study and say, the risks are real. That’s why we need the cleanup because every day is a risk. I mean, today it’s been incredibly windy out here and that puts us at risk. Hopefully people are now more educated to realize that every day is a risk at the Santa Susana field lab in the, the Woolsey fire made it much more mobile, the contamination, a larger amount than what you would normally see, but that doesn’t mean that it’s benign all the other days when it’s windy or rainy or when the next fire comes through.

Melissa Bumstead

04:48:17

So I think it’s done a huge service to the community to help them realize that until the whole site is cleaned up, our families are always going to be at risk every day.

Libbe HaLevy

04:48:26

And what response, if any, has there been to the report and its publication in a peer review journal by either the department of toxic substance control DTSC or California environmental protection agency, Cal EPA.

Melissa Bumstead

04:48:43

I believe that Joe Grover and his story reached out to both Cal EPA and DTSC for a statement. And they declined to give one, to my knowledge, I have not heard anything definitive from them.

Libbe HaLevy

04:48:57

Delay deny until you die. That’s what they say about so many things that are involved with nuclear. What actions, if any, are being planned by the group that you helped to found parents against the status Susana field lab in the wake of this proof that radioactive particles were released and dispersed in the smoke of the Woolsey fire.

Melissa Bumstead

04:49:19

We have several things that we’re working on right now, but I’m afraid I’m not able to talk about them, but I will give you an update. As soon as those become public, what

Libbe HaLevy

04:49:27

Would you like to see happen?

Melissa Bumstead

04:49:29

Well, obviously I would like to see the DTSC start making some public statements towards the full cleanup to say that they’re not going to negotiate with Boeing, that they’re not going to accept the supplemental environmental impact statements from NASA and the department of energy, but would like to see those agencies start to protect the people. But I really believe that it’s going to be up to the people to put enough pressure on our elected officials and on Cal EPA and even our governor when we stand up and we demand the cleanup, it’ll take all of us. I think it will take every voice, probably in all of Southern California, put enough pressure to outweigh the pressure that Boeing and NASA and the department of energy are putting to not have the cleanup

Libbe HaLevy

05:50:15

Bumstead you have done and continue to do. And I know we’ll continue to do important organizational work around the cleanup of Santa Susana field lab, and as thanks for coming on nuclear hot seat and filling us in on the latest, thank

Announcer

05:50:32

You so much for having

Libbe HaLevy

05:50:32

Me, Melissa Bumstead of parents against the Santa Susana field lab, by the way, her daughter is now 11 years old and cancer-free may it stay that way. If you want to know more about the Sadducees and a field lab, the peer reviewed paper and actions that Melissa couldn’t talk about yet, but we’ll be forthcoming soon. We will have links up on our website, nuclear hot seat.com under this episode, number 5 41, you can also join up with the parents against S S F L group on Facebook where all the latest information is posted and the excellent award-winning film on Saturday Susanna field lab in the dark of the valley will have its first public presentation on MSNBC on Sunday, November 14, at 10:00 PM, Eastern 7:00 PM Pacific time. This is a really well-done film. That completely explains the situation using archival footage, talking heads animation, and even Kim Kardashians. We will have a link up to the nuclear hot seat interview that we conducted with the film’s producer, Derek Smith. That will also be on our website under this episode,

Announcer

05:51:48

Activists.

Libbe HaLevy

05:51:55

It is with sadness that we share of the passing of Sue. Now Sue Bowie. He was an influential campaigner for nuclear disarmament who survived the U S atomic bombing of Hiroshima. He died on Sunday, October 24th of arrhythmia caused by anemia. He was 96 years old to Bowie drew international attention. When he met and spoke with then us president Barack Obama in 2016, while he visited Hiroshima and the site of the atomic bombing becoming the first sitting us president to do so since the bombing occurred on August 6th, 1945 to Bowie was a student at the predecessor to Hiroshima university. When the bombing occurred, he was only 1.2 kilometers from ground zero, less than a mile when he was exposed to the blast and suffered severe burns in the aftermath. He developed bowel and prostate cancers and severe anemia. He devoted himself to anti-nuclear activities, conveying the horror of nuclear weapons for decades at home and abroad and calling for their eliminations.

Libbe HaLevy

05:53:01

He said, we want zero nuclear weapons. May it be so, and sometimes we get support in truth from unexpected sources. I’m a fan of the British TV program, call the midwife, possibly the most compassionate female centric TV show that’s ever been created while the first nine seasons are now on Netflix. The 10th season is available for free on the PBS online site, pbs.org. In the episode I watched last night, which is episode one of this season, one of the multiple storylines followed a woman who gave birth to a stillborn baby, which had no lower legs. It turns out her husband had been in the British military in the late 1950s and had been onboard ship next to nuclear bomb site and exposed to the point where he could see the bones in his hands, through the skin, his close friend, also from the military at that time had a daughter who was born without three fingers and he developed serious medical problems.

Libbe HaLevy

05:54:09

The show presented the doctor, putting the pieces together, then asking for medical records from the government only to be denied for suspicious reasons. He even watched film footage, which we also saw of the nuclear blast that was taken by one of the soldiers, the growing horror of this doctor and his wife, who is also a nurse at the realization that exposure to radiation from the bomb was implicated in all the medical problems that they tracked down. Mutations, stillbirth, hemorrhages in the father, even someone dying of leukemia and that the government was complicit in covering up the medical details. This was stunning in its impact and totally unexpected. I watch call the midwife to get away from nuclear matters, not to get plunged into it. This is the most honest depiction I’ve seen in popular media of what it means to suddenly get that those nuclear bomb tests had had an ongoing, terrifying impact on life and health.

Libbe HaLevy

05:55:12

And your government does not want you to know about it. And this was totally unexpected. Despite the fact that in the past, this series has regularly included passing references to atomic bombs, fears, and even protests. I don’t yet know if this storyline will continue or if it was a one-shot, but I will post a link to the pbs.org site. With that episode. I don’t know if that is accessible outside of the United States, series 10 is already aired in the UK and it will be on Netflix after the first of the year. So hopefully even if you can’t get it on PBS, you will be able to access it. Call the midwife an anti-nuclear TV series that tells the truth who knew this has been nuclear hot seat for Tuesday, November 2nd, 2021 material for this week show has been researched and compiled from nuclear-news.net to own renard.wordpress.com beyond nuclear.org.

Libbe HaLevy

05:56:14

The international campaign to abolish nuclear weapons or I cam.org fairwinds.org, radiation free lakeland.org. The bulletin.org hcn.org, Seattle times.com common dreams.org, counter punched.org, Japan times.co.jp. Yes, seal gazette.org and the captured and compromised by the industry. They’re supposed to be regulating nuclear regulatory commission. If you would like to get nuclear, hot seat delivered via email every week, it’s the easiest way to not miss out on a single episode, we make it easy. Just go to nuclear, hot seat.com. Look for the yellow box and sign up for a weekly email link to the latest show. First name, email address. We don’t bug you. We just get the show to you. Now you can help us out because if you’ve got a story lead, a hot tip or suggestion of someone to interview, send an email to [email protected] That’s how we find out what’s really happening on the ground around the world.

Libbe HaLevy

05:57:19

And if you appreciate these weekly verifiable news updates about nuclear issues around the world, take a moment to go to nuclear, hot seat.com and look for that big red button, click on it, follow the prompts and know that whatever you can do to help, we will greatly appreciate your support. This episode of nuclear hot seat is copyright 2021 Leiby Halevi and hardest street communications, all rights reserved, but fair use allowed. As long as proper attribution is provided. This is Leiby Halevi of hardest street communications. The heart of the art of communicating, reminding you that when it comes to all things, nuclear, not only can, what you don’t know hurt you. There’s a good chance that it already has. There you go. You had just had your nuclear wake-up call. So here’s the brief, don’t go back to sleep because we are all in the nuclear hot seat,

Announcer

05:58:20

Clear hot seat. What are those people thinking? Nuclear hot seat. What have those boys been? Braking, nuclear hot. See the Ms. Sinking our time to act is shrinking, but the nuclear Hotsy it’s the bomb.