Oceans & Forests Blog

Savannah River Site Citizens Advisory Board says "no" to more nuclear waste

Posted Jul. 23, 2013 / Posted by: Adam Russell

Solid “non-consent” decision against spent fuel dumping

N. Augusta, S.C. – After months of debate and unprecedented public input, the Savannah River Site Citizens Advisory Board adopted a formal position against bringing spent nuclear fuel to the Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site for “consolidated storage.”

In a decisive 17-6 vote, the Savannah River Site Citizens Advisory Board, an advisory panel to the DOE’s Office of Environmental Management, approved the “Position Paper for the Savannah River Site’s Citizen Advisory Board on Using SRS for Interim Storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel.” This paper states that “future generations of South Carolinians and Georgians will not be well served by having the Savannah River Site become an interim storage site for commercial nuclear waste, and for what will be an undetermined length of time.”

The Savannah River Site Citizens Advisory Board adopted its position against bringing spent fuel to SRS exactly one week before the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on S. 1240, the “Nuclear Waste Administration Act of 2013.” S.1240 would establish one or more consolidated spent fuel storage facilities that could become de facto long term storage. The bill establishes that such consolidated storage sites would be selected by “[allowing] affected communities to decide” if they want to host nuclear waste facilities. Concern over consolidated storage becoming permanent stems from S.1240 removing the existing linkage between consolidated storage and a long-term geologic repository.

“This vote firmly established that the community is on track to reject any proposal to store highly radioactive commercial spent fuel at SRS,” said Tom Clements, southeastern nuclear campaign coordinator with Friends of the Earth. “The effort by SRS boosters to leave the door open for spent fuel storage and reprocessing has failed at this point but the community must be on guard in case the idea surfaces again.”

A host of public interest groups have joined Friends of the Earth in speaking against spent fuel storage at SRS, including the South Carolina Chapter of the Sierra Club, Conversation Voters of South Carolina, S.C. League of Women Voters, Aiken Peace, Don’t Waste Aiken, Georgia Women’s Action for New Directions and Nuclear Watch South.

The position paper states that the Savannah River Site Citizens Advisory Board “is opposed to the use of SRS as a site for interim storage of spent fuel from commercial nuclear reactors.” This is a clear rejection of spent fuel storage by the Savannah River Site Citizens Advisory Board and it forms the basis of “non-consent” to store spent fuel in South Carolina.

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Contact:
Tom Clements, (202) 240-7268 (mobile), (803) 834-3084 (office)
Adam Russell, (202) 222-0722, arussell@foe.org

Notes:
Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee hearing on July 30 on Nuclear Waste Administration Act of 2013.

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