Feds to ship 35 tons of radioactive waste here
By Jerry Bellune
Federal officials have quietly announced plans to ship more highly radioactive waste to SC.
An expert warns this brings with it yet unknown risks to Savannah River Site workers.
Many Lexington County residents commute 45 minutes to the site near Aiken.
"The proposed import of 35 metric tons of plutonium and other waste pose risks but all we hear from politicians is silence," said Savannah River Watch Director Tom Clements.
"While it is essential to know how much plutonium is now at SRS, DOE refuses to reveal how much more plutonium it plans to import and has not presented a time-line for plutonium import, processing, waste generation and export.
"Politicians in Aiken and in South Carolina have been irresponsibly silent about the risks involved with importing and processing 35 metric tons more weapon-grade plutonium at SRS.”
The Chronicle has asked Congressman Joe Wilson, Sen. Lindsey Graham, Attorney General Alan Wilson, Gov. Henry McMaster and Senate Majority Leader Shane Massey for comment.
“As DOE plans to dispose of 34 metric tons of plutonium as waste, approximately 27 more tons of plutonium would be brought into the state," Clements said.
"DOE is pursuing an unjustified Plutonium Bomb Plant at SRS to make pits for nuclear weapons.
"That facility would require about 7.5 metric tons of plutonium to make about 2,500 pits.
"Though it’s a startling amount, it appears DOE has plans to bring an additional 35 metric tons of plutonium into South Carolina, some of which could end up being stranded here as we saw with the failed MOX project,” he said.
“It is imperative that DOE immediately present a timetable for plutonium shipments to SRS and shipments out of the site and reveal where all this plutonium would be purified prior to processing at SRS,” he added.
Politicians are silent about the plutonium-import plans and the real risks of SRS yet are loudly clamoring for a large cut of the $600-million settlement agreement pie.
"That reveals the real impetus is financial and not addressing the real risks posed by SRS.”