Former Secretly Nuclear Plant in California is Now a Tunnel Ghost Town


California is well-known for famous sites like the Golden Gate Bridge, Hollywood, and Disneyland. But the state’s past also has some scary parts that are kept secret.

One of these is the Santa Susana Field Lab (SSFL), a secret nuclear site that used to test nuclear bombs and reactors but is now empty and contaminated.

Santa Susana Field Laboratory (SSFL)

The Santa Susana Field Lab (SSFL) was founded in 1947 by the U.S. government and private companies. It is in the hills above the San Fernando and Simi valleys, about 30 miles northwest of Los Angeles.

The 2,800-acre site had four areas, each with its own goal and level of protection, and was used for testing nuclear reactors and rocket systems. Area Four, which had 10 nuclear reactors and many “hot labs” for handling and keeping radioactive materials, was the most hidden and dangerous.

Nuclear Incidents and Disguise

SSFL saw many nuclear accidents and events that released radiation into the air, land, and water during its lifetime. The worst accident happened on July 13, 1959, when a reactor in Area Four partially melted down.

This damaged the core and let toxic gases out into the air. For decades, no one knew about what happened because workers were told to sneakily release gases into the air, usually at night to avoid being caught. The real level of radioactive exposure and pollution is still unknown because records are missing, wrong, or have been destroyed.

Closing and Cleaning up

The SSFL stopped working with nuclear weapons in 1988 and with rocket tests in 2006. Because of this, the place has been mostly ignored and abandoned since then, leaving behind environmental damage and health risks.

Cleanup and restoration are the job of the U.S. Department of Energy, NASA, and Boeing, since they own the land. However, differences in standards, methods, and due dates for cleanup have made the process slow and controversial.

Ghost Town of the Tunnels

The SSFL looks like a ghost town right now, with its empty bunkers, buildings, and equipment that used to be this secret nuclear plant. Radioactive and poisonous chemicals are still at the site, which means it is still dangerous to people and the environment.

Final Words

Finally, the Santa Susana Field Lab (SSFL) in California, originally a classified nuclear testing facility, today remains as a disturbing reminder of its secretive history.

Despite decades of nuclear mishaps and hazardous material releases, the full magnitude of environmental harm and health dangers is concealed by missing or erroneous data. The delayed and acrimonious cleaning effort, controlled by government agencies and private companies, highlights the difficulties in resolving the legacy of this secret nuclear site turned ghost town.

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