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Radiation found at former meltdown site in Simi Hills

Radioactive Rosca/Flickr

New data collected at the former Santa Susanna Field Laboratory site reveals excessive radiation. The discovery comes more than 50 years after a partial meltdown at the location where nuclear energy research once took place.

The federal Environmental Protection Agency found radiation in about 17 percent of its samples exceeded standards set by federal and state environment authorities two years ago. The Department of Energy oversees the property called "Area IV" where the sampling happened.

Community activists are using the new data to bolster arguments that the cleanups, at least two so far, aren’t working. Boeing points out that while it does own a piece of the former lab site, it’s not responsible for cleaning up Area IV.

State toxic substance regulators say they don’t know exactly what harm the radiation poses to human health over time.

Federal energy officials say they’re still studying the report, but they do point out that the cleanup already started at the site will take five more years to complete.

The new information underscores just how complicated it is to measure and clean up radiation, not to mention other chemical contaminants — not to mention determining who foots the bill.