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SRS reactors' role in Cold War is honored

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Savannah River Site's oldest nuclear reactors were honored Monday with South Carolina historical markers, but the public might never get to see them.

"They're inside the protected fence, so only badged people -- and employees -- can get in there," said Fran Poda of the site's office of external affairs.

In the past, markers were placed along the nearest state highway even if the site was some distance away, but more recently, markers have been erected at the site itself even if they are away from state highways and public roads, according to the South Carolina Department of Archives and History Web site, which said the markers cost $1,725 apiece.

The markers are the first such signs to be placed inside SRS' fence, and were created to recognize the prominent role the P and R reactors played in winning the Cold War.

The reactors were among five production reactors at SRS and both produced plutonium and tritium for national defense uses.

"They were true pioneers, and what they built is still significant today," said Elizabeth Johnson of the South Carolina Historic Preservation Office. "We take care to preserve our history for future generations, because what's been done here is important."

R Reactor began operations on Dec. 28, 1953, and ran until 1964 and was the prototype for the four subsequent reactors at the site. P Reactor ran from 1954 until its final shutdown in 1988.

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SCEagle Eye
959
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SCEagle Eye 03/18/08 - 06:56 am
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A down side is that the

A down side is that the reactors helped produce, via their reprocessed fuel, a huge amount of high-level nuclear waste that, according to DOE, presents the greatest single environmental threat to South Carolina. And, did the plutonium which the reactors produced really help "win" the Cold War or just play a role in a senseless arms race which wasted vast amounts of money and pushed the world to the brink of a no-win nuclear war? While we can recognize the role of the reactors, it's another thing to "honor" the Cold War so let's hope that's not what's happening. The best part is that these and the 3 other military production reactors at SRS are closed and will never operate again.

justputtin
1527
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justputtin 03/18/08 - 08:14 am
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0
HIstorical markers that the

HIstorical markers that the public can't see? Odd event and why cover it?

thistownisunbelievable
1
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thistownisunbelievable 03/18/08 - 10:13 am
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0
Funny to hear pluto fighting

Funny to hear pluto fighting a battle that was lost many years ago. The "senseless arms race" was the result of the discovery of a terrible weapon that couldn't be "undiscovered." The only way to prevent that weapon's use in a piecemeal fashion was the equally terrible policy of mutually assured destruction. It was a terrifying policy, but necessary given that neither side trusted the other enough to unilaterally disarm. For us to have done so would have been suicide. We would have either languished under the threat Soviet aggression or simply folded when the Red Army moved across Europe and Asia, and eventually the new world because we had no way to counter their tactical and strategic advantage. So, fuss all you want about the arms race. It was necessary, and in the end, caused the Soviets to go broke. In that sense, yes, the SRS workers and their reactors helped win the Cold War.

iletuknow
8
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iletuknow 03/18/08 - 12:28 pm
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Honoring a major

Honoring a major polluter....Nice!

Frank
3
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Frank 03/18/08 - 02:38 pm
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Funny to think that the vast

Funny to think that the vast majority of the waste produced there is NOT in South Carolina, but instead was shipped to a salt flat a mile + under the surface of Carlsbad NM

georgeem
0
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georgeem 03/18/08 - 06:57 pm
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Boy' can not any one say nice

Boy' can not any one say nice things about the SRS.

huggybear308091
0
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huggybear308091 03/18/08 - 07:55 pm
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where are all the idiots that

where are all the idiots that fuss about SRS and Ft. Gordon going to live when they Leave if that happens you can kiss Augustas butt bye bye.

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