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Plan would change SRS

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NORTH AUGUSTA --- A federal agency unveiled a proposal Thursday that could transform the nation's nuclear weapons infrastructure and lead to the consolidation of tritium research at Savannah River Site.

John Lindsey (from left), Elaine Cooper and Michael Berg of No Nukes Y'all, based in Columbia, are circled by Atlanta students protesting federal plans to retool the Savannah River Site.  Kendrick Brinson/Staff
Kendrick Brinson/Staff
John Lindsey (from left), Elaine Cooper and Michael Berg of No Nukes Y'all, based in Columbia, are circled by Atlanta students protesting federal plans to retool the Savannah River Site.

During a town hall meeting at North Augusta Community Center, officials with the U.S. Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration said the Complex Transformation plan would consolidate nuclear assets, and make the nation's nuclear weapons stockpile smaller, "safer, more secure and more responsive" to future national security needs.

Ted Wyka, an NNSA official leading the project, said the current weapons complex is too old and costly to maintain. The NNSA is the agency responsible for the security and upkeep of the nation's nuclear arsenal.

The plan contains several contingencies, from a complete overhaul of the government's nuclear infrastructure -- including producing new warheads to replace aging weapons systems, to leaving the nation's nuclear platform as is.

Under the plan, improvements in the arsenal would eventually lead to a net loss of warheads when aging weapons are dismantled.

One proposal calls for tritium production, research and development missions to move from Los Alamos National Laboratories in New Mexico to SRS. Because of attrition and reassignments, SRS would see a 5 percent reduction in staff supporting nuclear weapons activities over a decade, according to the plan.

Critics said the transformation plan would violate the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, make the United States less safe and pose threats to the environment and public health.

Tom Clements, Southeast Nuclear Campaign coordinator for Friends of the Earth, said his group favors cleanup of nuclear wastes at SRS, but opposes any expansion of nuclear weapons research and development there.

"They basically want to rebuild all nuclear weapons and prepare the complex to build new nuclear weapons," Mr. Clements said. "And we think this is a violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and we think we should abide by the treaty and abide by disarmament."

Early in the day, protesters at the community center included children holding signs that read "No new nukes" and people dressed as pigs carrying signs that said, "Oink if you love nuclear pork."

The public comment period ends April 10, and revisions will be announced in August. A decision is to be made this fall.

Reach J. Scott Trubey at (706) 823-3424 or scott.trubey@augustachronicle.com.

WHAT'S NEXT?

The National Nuclear Security Administration will hold another 18 public hearings near federal nuclear sites around the country before the public comment period ends April 10. Revisions to the Complex Transformation plan will be announced in August with a final decision to be made in the fall. Changes to the nation's nuclear weapons complex would occur over the course of at least 10 years, officials said.



LEARN MORE


Those not able to attend the town hall meeting can request information or express their opinions several ways: FAX: (703) 931-9222; E-MAIL: complextransformation @nnsa.doe.gov ONLINE: www.complex transformationspeis.com.

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wcr250
71
Points
wcr250 02/22/08 - 04:29 am
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These protesters ought to get

These protesters ought to get a job and an education. Mosy of them are old hippies with no purposein life and they sure don't care anything about America.

SCEagle Eye
959
Points
SCEagle Eye 02/22/08 - 05:00 am
0
0
In fact, the crowd opposing

In fact, the crowd opposing DOE's plans for rebuilding the nuclear bomb complex was the one of the largest and definitely the most diverse in over 20 years of such hearings by the DOE. I'm sure that the your students (ages 12-17) who spoke will indeed be getting jobs one day and helping change things for the better. Several of well-informed citizens testifying against DOE's big-government tax and spend plan were in there 70s and 80s and helped produce the lopsided 62-4 "score" of testifiers against the $150 billion (GAO estimate from 2006) plan. The usual crowd who is looking for corporate handouts didn't show up as they seem to realize that the wind is blowing against them and their desire to transfer public funds into their collective bank accounts. Score this first of 19 hearings for fiscal conservatives and members of the pubic striving to make this country more secure and less reliant on the dangerous "old think" from the last century. This is a trend that will likely continue across the nation.

hobo
0
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hobo 02/22/08 - 10:24 am
0
0
The tax payers money that is

The tax payers money that is spent at SRS is a complete waste. I know SRS staff that bascially do absolutely nothing all day except play poker and read. They need to close it down. It has been nothing but a taxpayer funded ATM for the Washington Group and the contractors . If you doubt it look at their financials and especially look at the bonus arrangements for the Washington group's executive staff.

dani
13
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dani 02/22/08 - 12:29 pm
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I would think the local

I would think the local residents would appreciate SRS, the largest employer by far in this area. We should be showing our gratitude. AND to those from out of town, let us take care of our own area.

susankei
0
Points
susankei 02/23/08 - 01:59 am
0
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I have a job and college

I have a job and college degrees, I considered this important enough to take a vacation day from my job in a hospital to come and speak out about the insanity of making more nuclear weapons. How can we threaten Iran for possibly thinking of making a nuclear power plant when we already have more nuclear weapons than anyone else in the world, are planning to make more, and don't forget, we are the only country that has ever used them. I would think the local residents would be concerned about the health risks associated with the waste produced and stored so close to home. And you may take care of your own area, but nuclear radiation tends to travel quite a distance, so please be aware that your own area in not the only place at risk.

And if i did not care about America I would just stay home and not speak out. It is because I care that I came to protest this madness.

SCEagle Eye
959
Points
SCEagle Eye 02/24/08 - 01:07 pm
0
0
To Dani and other locals SRS

To Dani and other locals SRS boosters (those who try to get new projects to the site at public expense) - if you want to be left alone in regards to decisions concerning SRS then I assume that you will also agree to stop using money that comes from out of the area. A pretty simple soution, right?! But we all know that the elites in the area regard SRS as their own special interest entitlement, a golden cash cow, which they think nobody can touch & which will be financed by others from around the US. Sorry, mate, but we know corporate welfare when we see it. Stick to the king of the budget at SRS - clean up - and I'm sure that those opposed to new weapons missions and the stumbling MOX program will lobby to keep the money going to that.

KSL
144710
Points
KSL 02/24/08 - 05:46 pm
0
0
What an intelligent looking

What an intelligent looking group of protesters!

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