Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Cleanup and Complexity: Nuclear and Industrial Contamination at The Santa Susana Field Laboratory, California


Environmental contamination, a legacy of industrial activity borne by numerous sites around the world, poses health risks for surrounding communities and presents serious cleanup challenges. One such site, the Santa Susana Field Laboratory (SSFL), served as an aerospace and nuclear energy research facility for over 50 years, during which time radioactive and other hazardous materials were unintentionally and intentionally released into the surrounding environment. These releases, including the partial meltdown of a sodium reactor, were hidden from the public for three decades. The site is now located in suburban Los Angeles, with 730,000 people living within a 10-mile radius. This paper evaluates the technical and social challenges underlying site cleanup at SSFL, including a complex geological setting, uncertain contaminant information, and a convoluted, evolving regulatory framework. These challenges, paired with historical secrecy on the part of responsible organizations and unclear layers of responsibility, have led to uncertainty and distrust within the surrounding community. Lessons learned from other remediated sites are assessed and recommendations for the SSFL cleanup are provided.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2


  1. 1.

    Effectiveness can be defined numerous ways, e.g., cleanup to relevant regulatory standards, cleanup to a level satisfactory to activist groups, or cleanup that minimized community discomfort. We do not prioritize a single definition, but arguable the SSFL case has not met any of these.

  2. 2.

    Burn pit disposal may also have been motivated by frustrations with acquiring permits and the costs of dumping materials in the ocean (Miller 1958).

  3. 3.

    Human activities, such as cleanup efforts relocating dump trucks full of contaminated sediment, could easily exceed geologic sediment movement, but are highly dependent on short term changes in policy or management decisions.


  1. Abbotts J (2011) Remediation, land use, and risk at Rocky Flats, and a comparison with Hanford. Remediation J 21:145–162. https://doi.org/10.1002/rem.20294

  2. Abelson DM (2006) From Cleanup to Closure: The history of the Rocky Flats coalition of local governments. Rocky Flats coalition of local governments

  3. Abram S (2017) Boeing Altered its Cleanup Plan for Toxic Santa Susana Land. Here’s why that Worries Local Leaders. Daily News. https://www.dailynews.com/2017/09/15/boeing-altered-its-cleanup-plan-for-toxic-santa-susana-land-heres-why-that-worries-local-leaders/. Accessed 19 Mar 2019

  4. Ahearne JF (2000) Intergenerational issues regarding nuclear power, nuclear waste, and nuclear weapons. Risk Anal 20:763–770. https://doi.org/10.1111/0272-4332.206070

  5. Ashley R, Beeley R, Fillmore F et al. (1961) SRE Fuel Element Damage Final Report. Atomics International, Canoga Park, CA

  6. Balint PJ, Stewart RE, Desai A, Walters LC (2012) Wicked environmental problems: managing uncertainty and conflict. Island Press, Washington, DC

  7. Barboza T (2018) No health risk from Woolsey fire that burned nuclear cleanup site, state officials say. Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles. https://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-woolsey-fire-santa-susana-20181112-story.html. Accessed 6 Dec 2019

  8. Basl J (2010) Restitutive restoration. Environ Ethics 32:135–147. https://doi.org/10.5840/enviroethics201032216

  9. Batuk ON, Conradson SD, Aleksandrova ON et al. (2015) Multiscale speciation of U and Pu at Chernobyl, Hanford, Los Alamos, McGuire AFB, Mayak, and Rocky Flats. Environ Sci Technol 49:6474–6484. https://doi.org/10.1021/es506145b

  10. Bearden DM (2012) Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act: A Summary of Superfund Cleanup Authorities and Related Provisions of the Act. Congressional Research Service, Washington, DC

  11. Boice Jr JD, Cohen SS, Mumma MT et al. (2011) Updated mortality analysis of radiation workers at Rocketdyne (Atomics International), 1948-2008. Radiat Res 176:244–258. https://doi.org/10.1667/RR2487.1

  12. Bromet EJ, Havenaar JM, Guey LT (2011) A 25 year retrospective review of the psychological consequences of the Chernobyl accident. Clin Oncol 23:297–305. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.clon.2011.01.501

  13. California Department of Toxic Substances Control (2010) SSFL Interim Measures. Santa Susana Field Lab. https://www.dtsc.ca.gov/SiteCleanup/Santa_Susana_Field_Lab/ssfl_site_activities_interim_measures.cfm. Accessed 21 Apr 2019

  14. California Department of Toxic Substances Control (2019) SSFL What’s New. https://www.dtsc.ca.gov/sitecleanup/santa_susana_field_lab/ssfl_whats_new.cfm. Accessed 13 Apr 2019

  15. California State Parks (2019) Burro Flats Painted Cave. CA State Parks Office of Historic Preservation, Sacramento, CA. https://ohp.parks.ca.gov/ListedResources/Detail/N412. Accessed 18 Mar 2019

  16. Cameron KS, Lavine M (2006) Making the Impossible Possible: Leading Extraordinary Performance–the Rocky Flats Story. Berrett-Koehler Publishers, San Francisco, CA

  17. Cappuyns V (2016) Inclusion of social indicators in decision support tools for the selection of sustainable site remediation options. J Environ Manag 184:45–56. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2016.07.035

  18. Carter T, Miller J (2013) Ten years of legacy management. U.S. DOE office of legacy management accomplishments. In: WM2013 Conference, Phoenix, AZ

  19. Center for Environmental Risk Reduction (2006) The Potential for Offsite Exposures Associated with Santa Susana Field Laboratory, Ventura County, California. University of California at Los Angeles, California

  20. CH2MHill (2008) Proposed Air Modeling Protocol for the Area I Burn Pit, Santa Susana Field Laboratory. The Boeing Company. https://www.dtsc-ssfl.com/files/lib_rcra_soils/group_1b/historical_docs/PDF_Files/HDMSE00742280.pdf. Accessed 6 Dec 2019

  21. Chen G, Flury M, Harsh JB, Lichtner PC (2005) Colloid-facilitated transport of cesium in variably saturated Hanford sediments. Environ Sci Technol 39:3435–3442

  22. Ciarlo DD (2009) Secrecy and its fallout at a nuclear weapons plant: a study of Rocky Flats oral histories. Peace Confl 15:347–365. https://doi.org/10.1080/10781910903206583

  23. Cilona A, Aydin A, Likerman J et al. (2016) Structural and statistical characterization of joints and multi-scale faults in an alternating sandstone and shale turbidite sequence at the Santa Susana Field Laboratory: implications for their effects on groundwater flow and contaminant transport. J Struct Geol 85:95–114. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsg.2016.02.003

  24. Clark DL, Choppin GR, Dayton CS et al. (2007) Rocky Flats closure: the role of models in facilitating scientific communication with stakeholder groups. J Alloy Compd 444–445:11–18. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jallcom.2007.02.121

  25. Coates P (2014) From hazard to habitat (or hazardous habitat). Prog Phys Geogr 38:286–300. https://doi.org/10.1177/0309133313513296

  26. Collins M (2016) Dept. of Energy Secretly Funding Front Group to Sabotage its own Santa Susana Field Lab Cleanup. EnviroReporter.com. https://www.enviroreporter.com/2016/09/dept-of-energy-secretly-funding-front-group-to-sabotage-its-own-santa-susana-field-lab-cleanup/. Accessed 21 Mar 2019

  27. Collins M (2018) Smoke Screen—Woolsey Fire Contamination Cover-up. EnviroReporter.com. https://www.enviroreporter.com/2018/11/smoke-screen-woolsey-fire-contamination-cover-up/. Accessed 21 Mar 2019

  28. Collins M (2019) LosAngeles, State Smack Back at Illegal Trump Plan to Kill SSFL Cleanup. EnviroReporter.com. https://www.enviroreporter.com/2019/02/los-angeles-state-smack-back-at-illegal-trump-plan-to-kill-ssfl-cleanup/. Accessed 21 Mar 2019

  29. Dauer LT, Brooks AL, Hoel DG et al. (2010) Review and evaluation of updated research on the health effects associated with low-dose ionising radiation. Radiat Prot Dosim 140:103–136. https://doi.org/10.1093/rpd/ncq141

  30. Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) (2018a) Statement on Woolsey Fire and Santa Susana Field Lab. Department of Toxic Substances Control, Sacramento

  31. Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) (2018b) Interim Summary Report of Woolsey Fire: Impacts at SSFL & Surrounding Communities Sampling Results. Department of Toxic Substances Control, Sacramento

  32. Department of Toxic Substances Control, Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board (2014) Microsoft PowerPoint: Groundwater and Surface Water at the Santa Susana Field Laboratory (SSFL)

  33. Diaz-Maurin F (2018) Chronic long-term risk of low-level radiation exposure: Bridging the lay/expert divide. Bull At Scientists 74:335–339. https://doi.org/10.1080/00963402.2018.1507792

  34. Environmental Protection Agency (2009) EPA’s Guide for Industrial Waste Management. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC

  35. Erikson K (1991) Radiation’s lingering dread. Bull At Scientists 47:34–39. https://doi.org/10.1080/00963402.1991.11459947

  36. Erikson K (1990) Toxic Reckoning: Business Faces a New Kind of Fear. Harvard Business Review. https://hbr.org/1990/01/toxic-reckoning-business-faces-a-new-kind-of-fear. Accessed 6 Dec 2019

  37. Flynn J, Peters E, Mertz CK, Slovic P (1998) Risk, media, and stigma at Rocky Flats. Risk Anal 18:715–727. https://doi.org/10.1023/b:rian.0000005918.67810.6d

  38. Gilmore E (2001) A critique of soil contamination and remediation: the dimensions of the problem and the implications for sustainable development. Bull Sci Technol Soc 21:394–400. https://doi.org/10.1177/027046760102100508

  39. Grigoryants O (2019) State Officials Criticize Federal Agency’s Cleanup Plan for Toxic Santa Susana Field Lab. Daily News. http://www.dailynews.com/state-officials-criticize-federal-agencys-cleanup-plan-for-toxic-santa-susana-field-lab. Accessed 21 Mar 2019

  40. Guccione J (2002) Ex-Rocketdyne Worker Describes Fatal 1994 Blast. Los Angeles Times. https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-2002-jan-05-me-20512-story.html. Accessed 6 Dec 2019

  41. Hamby DM (1996) Site remediation techniques supporting environmental restoration activities—a review. Sci Total Environ 191:203–224. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0048-9697(96)05264-3

  42. Harris M (2018) Long-planned Cleanup of Santa Susana Field Lab Delayed Again, Activists Disappointed. Ventura County Star. https://www.vcstar.com/story/news/local/communities/simi-valley/2018/08/21/simi-valley-santa-susana-field-lab-cleanup-delayed-again-nuclear-meltdown/978261002/. Accessed 6 Dec 2019

  43. Hart R (1962) Distribution of Fission Product Contamination in the SRE. Atomics International, Canoga Park, CA

  44. Hennigan WJ (2012) Rocketdyne Sold to GenCorp for $550 Million. Los Angeles Times. https://www.latimes.com/business/la-xpm-2012-jul-24-la-fi-rocketdyne-sale-20120724-story.html. Accessed 6 Dec 2019

  45. Hiltzik M (2014) Santa Susana Toxic Cleanup Effort is a Mess. Los Angeles Times. https://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzik/la-fi-hiltzik-20140613-column.html. Accessed 6 Dec 2019

  46. Hinton TG, Alexakhin R, Balonov M et al. (2007) Radiation-induced effects on plants and animals: findings of the United Nations Chernobyl Forum. Health Phys 93:427–440. https://doi.org/10.1097/01.HP.0000281179.03443.2e

  47. Hirsch D (2019) A failure of governmental candor: The fire at the contaminated Santa Susana Field Laboratory. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. https://thebulletin.org/2019/02/a-failure-of-governmental-candor-the-fire-at-the-contaminated-santa-susana-field-laboratory/. Accessed 6 Dec 2019

  48. HydroGeoLogic, Inc. (2012) Final Radiological Characterization of Soils: Area IV and the Northern Buffer Zone. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC

  49. Kaiser-Hill Company, LLC (2006) Rocky Flats: A Proud Legacy, and New Beginning. Kaiser-Hill Company, LLC, US Department of Energy, Rocky Flats Project Office (RFPO). https://www.lm.doe.gov/land/sites/co/rocky_flats/closure/references/Weapons%20to%20Wildlife%20Brochure.pdf. Accessed 6 Dec 2019

  50. Katz E (1992) The big lie: Human restoration of nature. Res Philos Technol 12:231–241

  51. Krupar SR (2011) Alien still life: distilling the toxic logics of the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge. Environ Plan D: Soc Space 29:268–290. https://doi.org/10.1068/d12809

  52. Larson ET (2005) Why environmental liability regimes in the United States, the European Community, and Japan have grown synonymous with the polluter pays principle. Vanderbilt J Transnatl Law 38:541–579

  53. Latham M, Schwartz V, Appel C (2011) The intersection of tort and environmental law: where the twains should meet and depart. Fordham Law Rev 80:737

  54. Light A, Higgs ES (1996) The politics of ecological restoration. Environ Ethics 18:227–247. https://doi.org/10.5840/enviroethics199618315

  55. Lowenthal MD (1998) Waste-acceptance criteria and risk-based thinking for radioactive-waste classification. Waste Manag 18:249–256. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0956-053x(98)00027-0

  56. Maher K, Bargar JR, Brown GE (2013) Environmental speciation of actinides. Inorg Chem 52:3510–3532. https://doi.org/10.1021/ic301686d

  57. Miller AW (1958) LOX Spill: Bravo Area and Subsequent Events. https://www.dtsc-ssfl.com/files/lib_rcra_soils/group_1b/a1bp_hist_docs/PDF-FILES/HDMSe00034035.PDF. Accessed 6 Dec 2019

  58. Moore L (2005) The bait-and-switch cleanup. Bull At Sci 61:50–57. https://doi.org/10.2968/061001012

  59. Mullenders L, Atkinson M, Paretzke H et al. (2009) Assessing cancer risks of low-dose radiation. Nat Rev Cancer 9:596–604. https://doi.org/10.1038/nrc2677

  60. MWH (2007) Offsite Data Evaluation Report. Santa Susana Field Laboratory Ventura County, California. https://www.dtsc-ssfl.com/files/lib_offsite_investig/reports/reports/Offsite%20Data%20Evaluation%20Report%20Final%20Text,%20Tables,%20Figures.pdf. Accessed 6 Dec 2019

  61. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (2010a) Santa Susana Field Laboratory: An Overview of NASA’s History at SSFL. National Aeronautical and Space Administration, Washington, DC. https://ssfl.msfc.nasa.gov/history. Accessed 6 Dec 2019

  62. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (2010b) Santa Susana Field Laboratory Archaeological Resources Survey. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Washington, DC. https://ssfl.msfc.nasa.gov/files/documents/factsheets/ssfl_arch_res_survey_factsheet.pdf. Accessed 6 Dec 2019

  63. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (2014) Final Environmental Impact Statement for Proposed Demolition and Environmental Cleanup Activities at Santa Susana Field Laboratory. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Washington, DC

  64. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (n.d.) A Virtual Tour of NASA Test Areas at SSFL. Santa Susana Field Laboratory Environmental Cleanup and Closure. https://ssfl.msfc.nasa.gov/history/virtual-tour. Accessed 18 Mar 2019b

  65. National Research Council, Division on Earth and Life Studies, Water Science and Technology Board, Committee on Future Options for Management in the Nation’s Subsurface Remediation Effort (2013) Alternatives for Managing the Nation’s Complex Contaminated Groundwater Sites. National Academies Press, Washington, DC

  66. Novikov AP, Kalmykov SN, Utsunomiya S et al. (2006) Colloid transport of plutonium in the far-field of the Mayak Production Association, Russia. Science 314:638–641. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1131307

  67. Oldenkamp RD, Mills JC (1990) Nuclear Operations at Rockwell’s Santa Susana Field Laboratory—A Factual Perspective

  68. Parents Against the Santa Susana Field Lab Nuclear Disaster (n.d.) https://parentsagainstssfl.com/. Accessed 21 Mar 2019

  69. Physicians for Social Responsibility (2018) Massive Woolsey Fire Began On Contaminated Santa Susana Field Laboratory, Close to Site of Partial Meltdown. Physicians for Social Responsibility-Los Angeles. https://www.psr-la.org/massive-woolsey-fire-began-on-contaminated-santa-susana-field-laboratory-close-to-site-of-partial-meltdown/. Accessed 21 Mar 2019

  70. Powell J, Homer J, Glassmeyer C, Sauer N (2009) Alternative wastewater treatment. On-site biotreatment wetlands at the fernald preserve visitors center. In: WM2009 Conference Symposia, Phoenix, AZ

  71. Powell J, Craig J, Jacobson C (2006) Transition of the U.S. Department of Energy Fernald Closure Project (FCP) from Cleanup to Legacy Management. In: Waste Management 2006 Symposium - WM’06, Tucson, AZ

  72. Prasad KN, Cole WC, Hasse GM (2004) Health risks of low dose ionizing radiation in humans: a review. Exp Biol Med 229:378–382. https://doi.org/10.1177/153537020422900505

  73. Price J, Spreng C, Hawley EL, Deeb R (2017) Remediation management of complex sites using an adaptive site management approach. J Environ Manag 204:738–747. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2017.04.009

  74. Reed M (1996) Rockwell Agrees to Record Fine in Fatal Blast: Chronology of Rocketdyne’s Legal Woes. The Los Angeles Times. https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1996-04-09-mn-57180-story.html. Accessed 6 Dec 2019

  75. Rittel HWJ, Webber MM (1973) Dilemmas in a general theory of planning. Policy Sci 4:155–169. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01405730

  76. Ritz B, Morgenstern, Young B, Crawford-Brown D (2000) The effects of internal radiation exposure on cancer mortality in nuclear workers at Rocketdyne/Atomics International. Environ Health Perspect 108:743–751. https://doi.org/10.1289/ehp.00108743

  77. Ritz B, Morgenstern H, Froines J, Young BB (1998) Effects of exposure to external ionizing radiation on cancer mortality in nuclear workers monitored for radiation at rocketdyne/atomics international. Am J Ind Med 35:21–31. https://doi.org/10.1002/(SICI)1097-0274(199901)35:1%3C21::AID-AJIM4%3E3.0.CO;2-X

  78. Rocketdyne Cleanup Coalition (2010) http://www.rocketdynecleanupcoalition.org. Accessed 21 Mar 2019

  79. Rod KA, Um W, Flury M (2010) Transport of strontium and cesium in simulated hanford tank waste leachate through quartz sand under saturated and unsaturated flow. Environ Sci Technol 44:8089–8094. https://doi.org/10.1021/es903223x

  80. Santa Susana Field Laboratory Work Group (2019) https://www.ssflworkgroup.org/. Accessed 21 Mar 2019

  81. Sapere Consulting, Inc, The Boeing Company (2005) Historical Site Assessment of Area IV, Santa Susana Field Laboratory, Ventura County, California. Department of Energy, Washington, DC

  82. Schatzman C (1992) Boarhead corporation v. Erickson: CERCLA precludes the use of other statues to challenge EPA cleanup actions. Nat Resour J 32:977–996

  83. Senate Bill No. 990 (2007) CHAPTER 729

  84. Shore RE (2014) Radiation impacts on human health: certain, fuzzy, and unknown. Health Phys 106:196–205. https://doi.org/10.1097/HP.0000000000000021

  85. Shore RE, Beck HL, Boice JD et al. (2018) Implications of recent epidemiologic studies for the linear nonthreshold model and radiation protection. J Radio Prot 38:1217–1233. https://doi.org/10.1088/1361-6498/aad348

  86. Shore RE, Beck HL, Boice JD et al. (2019) Recent epidemiologic studies and the linear no-threshold model for radiation protection-considerations regarding NCRP Commentary 27. Health Phys 116:235–246. https://doi.org/10.1097/HP.0000000000001015

  87. Slovic P, Flynn JH, Layman M (1991) Perceived risk, trust, and the politics of nuclear waste. Science 254:1603–1607. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.254.5038.1603

  88. Smith JT, Comans RNJ, Beresford NA et al. (2000) Chernobyl’s legacy in food and water. Nature 405:141–141. https://doi.org/10.1038/35012139

  89. SSFL Analytical Chemistry Unit (1981) Burn Pit Chemical Profile (Phase I). http://www.rocketdynecleanupcoalition.org/files/60_SSFL_historical_volume5A-%20AREA%20I%20BURN%20PIT.pdf. Accessed 6 Dec 2019

  90. SSFL CAG (n.d.) http://ssflcag.net. Accessed 21 Mar 2019

  91. Tamponnet C, Martin-Garin A, Gonze M-A et al. (2008) An overview of BORIS: bioavailability of radionuclides in soils. J Environ Radioactivity 99:820–830. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvrad.2007.10.011

  92. The Associated Press (2005) Rocky Flats Cleanup Is Declared Complete. NY Times

  93. Till JE, Rood AS, Voillequé PG et al. (2002) Risks to the public from historical releases of radionuclides and chemicals at the Rocky Flats environmental technology site. J Exposure Sci Environ Epidemiol 12:355–372. https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.jea.7500237

  94. Ulibarri N (2015) Tracing process to performance of collaborative governance: a comparative case study of federal hydropower licensing. Policy Stud J 43:283–308. https://doi.org/10.1111/psj.12096

  95. Ulibarri N (2018) Collaborative model development increases trust in and use of scientific information in environmental decision-making. Environ Sci Policy 82:136–142. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envsci.2018.01.022

  96. United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (2000) Sources and Effects of Ionizing Radiation: Sources. United Nations Publications, New York

  97. US Department of Energy (2018) Fact Sheet: Rocky Flats, Colorado, Site. Department of Energy, Office of Legacy Management, Washington, DC. www.lm.doe.gov%2Frocky_flats%2Ffact_sheet-rockyflats.pdf. Accessed 6 Dec 2019

  98. US Department of Energy (n.d.) SRE Santa Susana Field Laboratory for DOE’s Responsibility at Area IV. https://www.etec.energy.gov/Library/Video/SRE_Video/SRE_Decommissioning.php. Accessed 21 Apr 2019a

  99. US Department of Energy (n.d.) Former Sodium Disposal Facility. Clean-up at the Santa Susana Field Laboratory for DOE’s Responsibility at Area IV. https://www.etec.energy.gov/Library/Video/FSDF/FSDF_Video.php. Accessed 21 Apr 2019b

  100. US Department of Energy Office of Environmental Management (2017) Draft Environmental Impact Statement for Remediation of Area IV and the Northern Buffer Zone of the Santa Susana Field Laboratory. US Department of Energy Office of Environmental Management, Washington, DC

  101. US Department of Energy Office of Environmental Management (2018) Final Environmental Impact Statement for Remediation of Area IV and the Northern Buffer Zone of the Santa Susana Field Laboratory. US Department of Energy Office of Environmental Management, Washington, DC

  102. Verhoff J, Spaulding G (2011) Santa Susana Field Laboratory−Paleontological Resources Assessment (Appendix J, NASA SSFL EIS for Proposed Demolition and Environmental Cleanup). National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Washington, DC

  103. Warrick JA, Milliman JD (2003) Hyperpycnal sediment discharge from semiarid southern California rivers: Implications for coastal sediment budgets. Geology 31:781–784. https://doi.org/10.1130/G19671.1

  104. Warrick JA, Melack JM, Goodridge BM (2015) Sediment yields from small, steep coastal watersheds of California. J Hydrol 4:516–534. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ejrh.2015.08.004

  105. Whicker FW, Hinton TG, MacDonell MM et al. (2004) Environment. Avoiding destructive remediation at DOE sites. Science 303:1615–1616. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1093187

Download references


The authors thank two anonymous reviewers for extremely detailed and thoughtful suggestions on the manuscript.

Author information

Correspondence to Nicola Ulibarri.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they no have conflicts of interest.

Additional information

Publisher’s note Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Ulibarri, N., Tracy, C.L. & McCarty, R.J. Cleanup and Complexity: Nuclear and Industrial Contamination at The Santa Susana Field Laboratory, California. Environmental Management 65, 257–271 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00267-019-01239-7

Download citation


  • Nuclear contamination
  • Industrial contamination
  • Remediation
  • Environmental regulation