A plan to temporarily store two trainloads of Savannah River Site's depleted uranium in Texas after it was rejected by Utah would cost at least $8 million more than leaving it in South Carolina.
The radioactive material, left over from decades of nuclear weapons production, was stored in 15,605 drums that were to be disposed of at an EnergySolutions waste site in Clive, Utah.
After the first shipment -- 5,408 drums -- was sent to Utah in December, the state's governor protested further shipments. The Energy Department then idled two trainloads that remain at SRS, and the department has proposed moving the material to a waste facility in Andrews, Texas, for interim storage.
That interim proposal would cost about $12 million, compared with a cost of $2 million to $4 million to simply maintain the material at SRS until an approved final destination can be arranged, according to a report presented this week to the SRS Citizens Advisory Board.
Currently, 56 loaded rail cars containing 5,776 drums remain at SRS, with an additional 3,616 drums in storage and awaiting transport, the report said. An additional 805 drums are scheduled to be moved to Oak Ridge National Laboratory this summer.
On April 13, the Energy Department's Inspector General released a report critical of the Texas option, which "carries with it a number of significant logistical burdens, including substantial additional costs for repackaging at SRS, transportation to Texas, storage at the interim site, and, repackaging and transportation to the yet-to-be determined final disposition point."
No final decisions have been made on the disposition of the material, the report said.