“In the Dark of the Valley” unveils the truth behind the overdue nuclear clean up

After watching “In the Dark of the Valley,” the truth is finally unveiled to the public and we all were enlightened to what really happened after the Santa Susana Field Lab’s destructive nuclear meltdown. I thought this documentary was groundbreaking in terms of informing community members what danger lies within their believed to be “safe” environment. This documentary is a call of action to the audience and makes it clear that this matter is now on our hands to fight together as a community.

The film focuses on the communities of people who are fighting for the nuclear clean-up that was agreed to by NASA and the Doe to be done by 2017. Four years after the deadline, and no change has occurred. The documentary illustrates the agony people express as miles of land close to the contaminated field lab have been affected by the radiation causing a rare widespread cancer.

A resident of the area, Melissa Bumstead, discovered that living within ten miles of the laboratory is potentially the reason responsible for her daughter’s rare leukemia. Sixty-two years after the nuclear accident, the radiation contaminants from the laboratory have just recently been correlated to the cancer clusters in communities near the Santa Susana Field Lab, like Simi Valley and West Hills. Research shows that families living just a few miles from the site have a significantly higher rate and the chance of developing a form of cancer. 

Bumstead was with her daughter at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles when other cancer patients and their families discovered that they were all living in a cancer-causing “circle” of radiation all within ten miles of the nuclear meltdown site. Those families with cases similar to Bumstead fighting rare cancer, petition and protest for the promised clean-up to put an end to the dangers floating throughout nearby cities. 

The Santa Susana Field Lab already had tremendous amounts of radioactive contamination on site. With the blazing Woolsey Fire burning in 2018, radioactive microparticles migrated to nearby cities. Those radioactive particles in the ash were found in Thousand Oaks and Simi Valley after the fire ended its course. 

Watching the documentary, it illustrated how vital it is to have a long-promised clean-up. “In the Dark of the Valley,” sent chills up my spine as I learned that Thousand Oaks is indeed a part of the ten-mile radius circle of radiation. There are in fact cases from the cancer clusters here in our local community and I do not believe a lot of people even in Thousand Oaks understand the significant effect of the Santa Susana Field Lab nuclear meltdown. 

This documentary brought awareness to this topic that still remains not brought to the action that communities deserve. Families and individuals living close by should not have to worry about what rare cancer their loved ones or even themselves may have to fight in the near future.

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