Haley talks to energy chief about SRS waste



AIKEN — Gov. Nikki Haley has told the U.S. energy secretary that she wants something done with the 37 million gallons of waste at Savannah River Site.

Haley talked with the Ai­ken Standard about a discussion she had with Energy Sec­retary Ernest Moniz in Wash­ington, D.C., earlier this week.

She said Moniz is committed to try to improve funding for the old nuclear weapons complex to deal with the waste.

“He made it very clear that in this next budget, he’s working to push SRS waste cleanup and will do what it will take to get things back to their proper place at SRS,” Haley said.

Moniz said it will be harder to find funding for an operation to turn old weapons-grade plutonium into fuel for commercial nuclear reactors, Haley said.

The mixed-oxide fuel plant is part of an international effort to dispose of weapons-grade plutonium. The Obama administration has said high costs for the plant might make it unaffordable.

SRS has been seeking a grant to start small modular reactors that generate less than 300 megawatts of electricity. Supporters of the reactors say they can reduce the amount of on-site construction, in order to be more economically efficient.

“He knows we are interested in receiving the grant for them. We understand the significance of bringing them to SRS,” Haley said.