Augusta Economy

More News | Fort Gordon | Plant Vogtle | Savannah River Site | Editor

Economic development leader urges committee to reconsider Yucca Mountain

  • Follow Government

The absence of a clear plan to manage the nation’s spent nuclear fuel and defense wastes could leave South Carolina vulnerable to further exploitation as a long-term storage site, a local economic development leader told members of Congress Thursday.

“We continue to believe Yucca Mountain was – and is – the right answer for permanent nuclear waste disposal, and its completion should be pursued vigorously, especially for high-level defense waste,” said Rick McLeod, the executive director of the SRS Community Reuse Organization.

McLeod and others testified before the House Science, Space & Technology Subcommittee, which is evaluating recommendations from the President’s Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future.

The Blue Ribbon Committee was formed after the Obama administration canceled the Yucca Mountain project that was to become a permanent underground repository. Although the committee concluded the U.S. still needs deep, geologic storage, its members made no mention of resurrecting Yucca Mountain. “We consider this to be the ‘missing recommendation,’ ” McLeod said.

South Carolina, with 3,900 metric tons of spent fuel at multiple storage sites, ranks third in the nation. It is also home to Savannah River Site and its high level defense wastes.

McLeod urged subcommittee members to consider high-level defense wastes separately from spent nuclear fuel.

“The waste is different. The quantity is different. The number of locations affected is different. The potential for future use is different,” he said.

Most importantly, he added, the Yucca Mountain decision makes it likely that defense wastes at SRS will remain there indefinitely, turning South Carolina into a “de facto Yucca Mountain” in which SRS waste is left without a disposition path.

He also urged officials to listen to the scientists, not the politicians, when making critical nuclear waste decisions.

“We continue to urge the Department of Energy to reconsider its position and allow science and engineering – not politics – to establish the most appropriate means for disposal of high-level defense nuclear waste.”


1. Illinois: 8,440

2. Pennsylvania: 5,850

3. South Carolina: 3,900

4.(tie) New York: 3,450

4 (tie). North Carolina: 3,450

5. Alabama: 2,990

6. Florida: 2,810

7. Michigan: 2,540

8. Georgia: 2,490

9. New Jersey: 2,480

10. Virginia: 2,400

Source: Nuclear Energy Institute (amounts are in metric tons)

Comments (4) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
Little Lamb
Little Lamb 10/27/11 - 02:25 pm
Everybody needs this waste

Everybody needs this waste repository, but nobody wants it in their back yard. It's got to go somewhere, folks. After Obama loses in 2012, I say it will be Nevada again.

Riverman1 10/27/11 - 02:57 pm
"Most importantly, he added,

"Most importantly, he added, the Yucca Mountain decision makes it likely that defense wastes at SRS will remain there indefinitely, turning South Carolina into a “de facto Yucca Mountain” in which SRS waste is left without a disposition path."

Guess who coined the term "Yucca Mt by default"? It's catching on with a slight variation. That's exactly what is going to happen if we don't act fast. It's the most important event in the history of this part of planet earth.

Jake 10/27/11 - 10:38 pm
The CSRA seems to be a good

The CSRA seems to be a good place for nuclear waste. Look at all the waste that is presently there.

SCEagle Eye
SCEagle Eye 10/28/11 - 09:20 am
SRS has always been a de

SRS has always been a de facto Yucca Mountain. Check the Yucca EIS - there never was room enough in the dump for all the defense (DOE) high-level waste, including vitrified waste canisters from SRS. Despite the calls to get waste off the site, why have some called for SRS to become an "interim" spent fuel storage site? Another way to exploit the Nuclear Waste Fund and grease the skids for reprocessing, which would really makes us the new yucca Mountain?

Back to Top
Top headlines

Commissioners leaning toward not funding groups

Commissioners have stressed needs over wants in the new package after the first SPLOST 7 referendum failed last year, and despite impassioned presentations Tuesday, leaders did not change their minds.
Search Augusta jobs