Nuclear waste commission to tour SRS

A national panel appointed to study nuclear waste disposal options will tour Savannah River Site, and possibly Plant Vogtle, during a visit that has been scheduled for Jan. 6-7, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.


The Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future, created by President Obama last January in the wake of a controversial decision to abandon the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste program in Nevada, will also hold a public meeting during its visit.

"The location and logistics are things we are just starting to work out," said Jim Giusti, a department spokesman at the site.

The government's Yucca Mountain project, 90 miles from Las Vegas, was to accommodate 70,000 tons of waste from the nation's 104 commercial reactors, which are generating about 2,000 additional tons of spent fuel each year.

It was also to be the disposal site for radioactive material from 121 temporary sites, including SRS.

Many local groups, including the Savannah River Site Community Reuse Organization, protested the cancellation of Yucca Mountain, saying it would make it more difficult to move radioactive waste out of South Carolina.

The group also asked that the panel reconsider Yucca Mountain because more than $10 billion has already been spent on the project.

The 15-member Blue Ribbon panel's mission, as stated by Energy Secretary Steven Chu, is to explore alternatives that would offer safe, effective ways to handle nuclear waste.

A co-chairman of the group, Gen. Brent Scowcroft, announced in September that his commission also wants to visit the Energy Department's Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico, in addition to SRS, as part of its mission.

The group is scheduled to make its first series of recommendations in fall 2011.

More private firms want partnerships at SRS
Blue Ribbon Commissioners Appointed by Obama

LEE HAMILTON: Co-chairman; represented Indiana's 9th Congressional District from January 1965 to January 1999. In Congress, Hamilton served as the ranking member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and was chairman of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. He is president and director of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and the director of The Center on Congress at Indiana University.

BRENT SCOWCROFT: Co-chairman; served as the national security adviser to Presidents Ford and George H.W. Bush. Served in the military for 29 years, and concluded at the rank of lieutenant general after service as the deputy national security adviser.

MARK AYERS: President; Building and Construction Trades Department, AFL-CIO

VICKY BAILEY: Former member, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission; former Department of Energy assistant secretary for policy and international affairs

ALBERT CARNESALE: Chancellor emeritus and professor, UCLA

PETE V. DOMENICI: Senior fellow, Bipartisan Policy Center; former U.S. senator from New Mexico

SUSAN EISENHOWER: President, Eisenhower Group Inc.

CHUCK HAGEL: Former U.S. senator from Nebraska

JONATHAN LASH: President, World Resources Institute

ALLISON MACFARLANE: Associate professor of environmental science and policy, George Mason University

RICHARD A. MESERVE: President, Carnegie Institution for Science; former chairman, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

ERNIE MONIZ: Professor of physics and Cecil & Ida Green Distinguished Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

PER PETERSON: Professor and chairman, Department of Nuclear Engineering, University of California-Berkeley

JOHN ROWE: Chairman and chief executive officer, Exelon Corp.

PHIL SHARP: President, Resources for the Future