During the Cold War and Race to Space, thousands of employees at Santa Susana Field Laboratory (SSFL) participated in projects crucial to our nation's defense. Under contract with the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC, Department of Energy's predecessor agency) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), North American Aviation (NAA) personnel contributed to cutting edge nuclear and rocketry technology that relied on experimentation. From testing rocket engines destined for the Moon to developing nuclear reactors for the purpose of propelling spacecraft, amidst myriad other experimental and hazardous projects and unprecedented waste disposal, NAA personnel were exposed to toxic chemicals and radiation. Often, their exposures occurred without their knowledge or consent, in an absence of documentation and/or defined safety parameters. In many cases, these exposures led to devastating health consequences.
In 2000, Congress enacted the Energy Employee Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act (EEOICPA) to compensate sick workers of the nuclear complex. However, to avoid accountability for worker injury and to minimize fiscal responsibility for a controversial, ongoing cleanup of SSFL, DOE provided misleading and incomplete information about their predecessor agency's history at the facility over five decades, effectively barring thousands of sick workers from eligibility to EEOICPA.
The history is well documented. It's time to acknowledge the contributions made by the unsung heroes of the atomic age and Race to Space who deserve immediate inclusion to EEOICPA legislation. TheAeroSpace.org works to raise awareness about the role of SSFL's North American Aviation Space & Information Division, Rocketdyne personnel of Areas I, II and III to the Cold War, invites you to sign our petition to Congress toward this effort, and provides support, advocacy, and research for any former worker of the nuclear complex or space program in need of assistance with EEOICPA legislation. Looking for answers to the part you played in our nation's nuclear history? Contact us - We might be able to help, or connect you with someone who can.