Ryberg pushes for site for SRS waste

Rainier Ehrhardt/Staff
Greg Ryberg: State senator says the federal government needs to fulfill an obligation it made decades ago.

COLUMBIA --- Sen. Greg Ryberg, R-Aiken, has introduced a resolution urging Congress to continue with plans to use the Yucca Mountain site in Nevada as a repository for high-level radioactive material.


The Savannah River National Laboratory needs a place to send its spent nuclear fuel, he said in a statement.

The resolution, S. 655, was co-sponsored by 22 other senators, including Shane Massey, R-Edgefield, and Nikki Setzler, D-West Columbia, who both represent part of Aiken County.

The measure is in response to a decision by the Obama administration to discard plans to use Yucca Mountain to store waste.

"Opening Yucca Mountain will not only fulfill the obligation that Washington made to Savannah River decades ago, but it will also sustain the existence of thousands of good jobs and the creation of many more," said Mr. Ryberg.

"Yucca Mountain is vital to the continued prosperity of Aiken County and the surrounding communities, and we call upon the Federal Government to keep its promise," Mr. Ryberg said.

Federal lawmakers or bodies are not bound by resolutions that are passed by state lawmakers.

Jim Giusti, spokesman for the Savannah River Site, declined to speculate on the implications the Yucca Mountain decision would have on the lab.

"Our position here at SRS is we're going to continue to safely and securely manage all our materials and our waste until such time as we get new direction as to their final disposition."

Earlier this week the federal government announced $1.6 billion in stimulus would be granted to Savannah River Site for use in cleanup projects, bringing with it the creation of approximately 3,000 jobs.

Reach Sarita Chourey at (803) 727-4257 or sarita.chourey@morris.com.