Projects in California and Florida will be part of NASA's spending this year, but an accounts payable audit conducted within the agency shows that hundreds of millions of dollars may be wasted on a California cleanup.
The Santa Susana Field Laboratory in Simi Valley, California, was home to nuclear tests for 40 years and experienced a partial meltdown in 1959 that remained a major concern since 1959. The retired experimental base, just 30 miles northwest of Los Angeles, is currently undergoing a cleanup by a host of businesses and federal agencies including NASA, Boeing and the U.S. Department of Energy. Efforts are being directed exclusively by the U.S. Department of Toxic Substances Control.
The AP audit conducted reflects concern over NASA's spending in the Simi Valley project, and it also touches on the treatment of Florida's Kennedy Space Center, according to Florida Today. The source claims the audit reveals $30.4 million is spent annually on the East Coast space center, which has not been in use since 2011. Although plans to eventually demolish most of the complex are in place, Florida Today reports NASA is forced to seek additional funds to take care of that process.
The investigation into NASA's spending asserts there are several other projects the organization could allocate funds to that are even greater risks to citizens' health, but did not specify what those are, The Associated Press reports. The Santa Susana Lab has been shut down for roughly 15 years, but the Associated Press says locals and organizations working for environmental causes have criticized the federal government's seeming lack of urgency in the matter.
On a positive note, Florida Today says the audit commended NASA for its preparation in moving forward with cleanup projects like the Simi Valley operation. While the auditor was unsure of the outcome, the source claims plans are promising in comparison to what the organization has seen in recent years.