Why Is the Santa Susana Nuclear Accident Still Being Covered Up?

Excavating Six Decades of Buried Secrecy, Neglect, and Flat-Out Lies in the San Fernando Valley

In 1979, the year of Three Mile Island, I exposed another nuclear accident—another partial meltdown—in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. It occurred at the Santa Susana Field Lab, a reactor and rocket-testing facility in the mountains between the San Fernando and Simi Valleys.

Back then, the story was both news and history. The Field Lab opened in 1947, at the onset of the Cold War, and the reactor accident happened in 1959. The Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) and a nuclear contractor kept it secret for 20 years, but there was no …