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In wake of Woolsey fire, Kim Kardashian calls for cleanup of former Rocketdyne site, joining residents who have long fought for it

A former nuclear and rocket engine testing site, which sits in the hills above San Fernando and Simi valleys, became a topic of discussion on Twitter after celebrity Kim Kardashian West called for a cleanup of the area.
Kardashian shared with her 58 million followers Thursday that she was “shocked and furious” to learn that the Woolsey fire, which threatened her Calabasas home, started at the former nuclear testing site and is “potentially radioactive.”

Shocked & furious to learn smoke from the #WoolseyFire started at former nuclear testing site, Santa Susana Field Lab, & is potentially radioactive. Sign now to demand that incoming governor @GavinNewsom gets this site cleaned up: https://t.co/3t11HgQbOK
— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) November 15, 2018

RELATED STORY:   Concerned about cancer risks from Cold War era, parents, residents rally to clean-up Santa Susana Field Lab
The celebrity’s sister, Kourtney Kardashian, echoed her concerns.
“Our family lives only 20 miles from a nuclear disaster site, Santa Susana Field Lab, and we didn’t even know it. We need Gavin Newsom to do something,” Kardashian tweeted Thursday.
But the contaminated 2,900-acre site is well known to San Fernando Valley residents.
Nearly 490,000 people signed a petition on Change.org, started by West Hills resident Melissa Bumstead whose daughter Grace has twice survived leukemia. The girl is one of 50 children within 20 miles of the site with cancer, a product, some residents say, of an era of nuclear research and rocket engine testing that left a tragic imprint in the area.
The lab appeared on the map in the 1940s, and about two decades later it became the site of a partial meltdown accident that left the area polluted with radioactive and chemical contamination.
RELATED STORY:  Parents of children with cancer push state to clean up Santa Susana Field Lab
The United States Department of Energy and NASA signed an agreement in 2010, promising to remove all contamination from the site by 2017. The state’s Department of Toxic Substance Control, or DTSC, asked Boeing, which owns a portion of the area, to commit to its own cleanup.

See full fire coverage here

About a year after the deadline, the companies still have not cleaned the area. Now, Bumstead and other parents worry that their families are being exposed to carcinogenic chemicals.
The Woolsey fire, which started near the former Rocketdyne site, has amplified those concerns.
Stylist Kim Kardashian arrives at the kick off party for MTV. (Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images)
“DTSC repeatedly minimizes risk from SSFL and has broken every promise it ever made about the SSFL cleanup,” Bumstead wrote in a statement. “Communities throughout the state have also been failed by DTSC. The public has no confidence in this troubled agency.”
Abbott Dutton, a spokeswoman for DTSC, wrote in an email that the agency’s experts accessed the site last Saturday to inspect damage caused by the fire.
“We confirmed that the SSFL facilities that previously handled radioactive and hazardous materials were not affected by the fire,” Dutton wrote. “Over the weekend our multi-agency team took measurements of radiation and hazardous compounds, both on the site and in the surrounding community. The results from this initial round of testing showed no radiation levels above background levels, and no elevated levels of hazardous compounds other than those normally present after a wildfire.”


Related links

State says no toxic risk from Woolsey fire that burned old nuclear site in Simi Valley
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Malibu-area residents confused, frustrated after Woolsey fire closures lifted yet they were turned away



But Bumstead was skeptical about the test results.
“I was outraged to learn that DTSC and other agencies are telling everyone there’s no risk, and then we find out they haven’t even received many of the test results,” she wrote in an email. “DTSC and Los Angeles County Department of Public Health should not make assurances when they don’t have the data and won’t release whatever measurements they may have taken.”
 

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