A national panel appointed to study nuclear waste disposal options will visit Savannah River Site and Plant Vogtle next year, according to a co-chairman.
The Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future was created by President Obama in the wake of a controversial decision to abandon the Yucca Mountain project in Nevada, which was being designed as a permanent disposal site for much of the nation's nuclear waste.
The site, 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, noting that 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.
The group's co-chairman, Gen. Brent Scowcroft, announced the visit to the Augusta area this week. "In January of next year, we will arrange visits to southeastern New Mexico to visit the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant and to Georgia and South Carolina to learn more about the Vogtle Nuclear Power Plant and the Savannah River Site," he said.
"We look forward to these visits," Scowcroft said.
The panel is scheduled to make its first series of recommendations in fall of 2011.
Reach Rob Pavey at (706) 868-1222, ext. 119, or firstname.lastname@example.org.