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At its peak in 1945 over 18,000 workers were employed there.The postwar years saw the creation of the Naval Radiological Defense Laboratory (NRDL) who’s first responsibility was the study and decontamination of ships used in the nuclear weapons tests at the Bikini Atoll.The stories of widespread radioactive contamination, its location in one of the most crime-ridden neighborhoods in San Francisco and its high fences and locked gates have conspired to keep the base out of the public eye for decades.
Between the slipshod documentation of the NRDL’s dirty playthings and the other unknown contaminants from the day-to-day operation of a major shipyard, no one really knows the extent of the toxic mess left buried on the isolated south side of the base.
It looked like a post-apocalyptic movie set during the day, but alone at night, it was beyond surreal.
The entire relic strewn base is just minutes from the downtown of one of the west coast’s largest cities.
When the base was decommissioned in 1974 the homes were abandoned.
They stood empty and untouched for 30 years, slowly decaying in San Francisco’s foggy air.
It includes both densely populated cities with sprawling suburbs, and vast, uninhabited and naturally beautiful areas.