5 Ways to Volunteer like a Kardashian

Updated: Apr 8, 2020

By Nancy Parrish

Kim and Kourtney are worried about nuclear waste — you should be too

I’m not usually much of a Kardashian watcher, but I’ve got to admit — they got my attention with this one. Last weekend Kim and Kourtney Kardashian added another social justice cause to their growing list: the threat that nuclear waste presents to the health of those unlucky enough to live near it. With their children, Kim and Kourtney attended the Santa Susana Field Lab Meltdown Anniversary Event commemorating the 1959 partial nuclear reactor meltdown that still has not been fully cleaned up. Not by NASA, not by the U.S. Department of Energy, and not by Boeing — the only non-governmental organization responsible for the disaster.

Kim and Kourtney first learned of the disaster last November when they, and nearly 300,000 other Los Angeles and Ventura County residents, were forced to evacuate during the Woolsey fire which began at the Santa Susana Field Lab. In the 60 years since the meltdown, the resulting nuclear waste has caused cancer in lab employees and notably higher rates of rare cancers in children in the surrounding area. The Kardashians and nearly half a million other people live within 10 miles of the contaminated 2,800 acre site.

On Twitter, Kim said, “I met families who’s [sic] babies have died from the rare cancer they have from living so close to this toxic site. It’s heartbreaking and they should have cleaned this up decades ago! Boing [sic] and NASA tested rockets at this site & agreed to clean it up by 2017 but haven’t! It’s time!!!”

Kim and Kourtney are right to be concerned about the effects of nuclear waste, but it isn’t just people in Malibu who should be worried. One out of every three Americans live within 50 miles of nuclear waste, yet the federal government cannot reach a consensus on how to combat this increasingly urgent and complex problem.

There are 1,344 hazardous areas, or Superfund Sites, on the National Priorities List in the United States that the government has yet to clean up.In addition to nuclear waste storage facilities and contaminated areas, these include closed military bases, chemical plants, microwave manufacturers, petroleum processors, and wood preservers.

Nonprofit organizations across the country are working to pressure the government and private institutions to take responsibility for the detrimental damage they have caused to the environment and families surrounding nuclear weapons production and testing sites. Here are just five of those sites and how you can get involved in cleanup efforts:

1. Savannah River Site, South Carolina

From the 1950s to 1988, the Savannah River Site (SRS) was home to a U.S. Department of Ene