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SRS is looking to add storage

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Savannah River Site is exploring options to expand its K Area storage facility to accommodate 500 additional containers of plutonium from other nuclear weapons sites.

The plans stem from a 2007 decision by the U.S. Energy Department to consolidate surplus plutonium from three sites -- Hanford in Washington state, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California and Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.

The original plan called for shipping 2,300 containers from Hanford, 96 from Los Alamos and 115 from Lawrence Livermore, said Allen Gunter, senior technical adviser for Savannah River Site's Nuclear Materials Stabilization Project.

The analysis also forecast an additional 500 containers that would be generated by -- and eventually shipped from -- the Los Alamos and Livermore laboratories "as space was available" at SRS, Mr. Gunter said.

"We are well into the program to bring that existing material here," he said, noting that the K Area storage area has adequate space for all designated plutonium shipments except the 500 extra containers.

"What is happening now is that we are working with the Office of Environmental Management and National Nuclear Security Administration to put additional storage capacity in the K area to allow us to go ahead and receive that additional material," Mr. Gunter said. "That would allow us to complete the entire objective."

The plutonium -- some in metal form and some in an oxide powder form -- is left over from decades of nuclear weapons production. By transferring the material to one location at SRS, the Energy Department expects to increase security while avoiding significant costs at all three sites.

Mr. Gunter said the work would most likely involve remodeling.

"We would be going into existing K area buildings and converting a portion of that facility into a storage vault," Mr. Gunter said. "It's kind of like taking a large closet and making it into a bathroom."

Cost estimates could be available later this year.

"We hope to have the studies completed this fiscal year, which would be about September," he said.

"Depending on the decision, we would move forward with a project, and the goal would be to complete it within two to three years. It depends on the urgency and the needs of the programs."

Plutonium stored at SRS is expected to be processed into mixed oxide fuel suitable for use in commercial reactors or disposed of through the Defense Waste Processing Facility, also located at SRS.

The ultimate objective, said Energy Department spokesman Jim Giusti, is to provide a clear disposition path that would someday take the material out of South Carolina.

Reach Rob Pavey at 868-1222, ext. 119, or rob.pavey@augustachronicle.com.

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SandyK2005
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SandyK2005 02/13/09 - 02:10 am
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Okay, AC, what is it with the

Okay, AC, what is it with the nuke articles? Two a day now. SRS/Vogle aren't the only local news around. Each article further kicks the ant mound. Nuclear energy will never get the green light as the industry wants it to get (you can blame Hiroshima; Nagasaki; The Silkwood Affair (how many Americans are cut up after death and buried in nuclear hazard waste sites again?); Three Mile Island and Chenobryl for that!). That bridge has been long radiated and burned to radiocarbons. Now DOE, stop with the interference with Cold Fusion research. The people will get their power to end this energy crisis once and for all. People can't depend on centralized energy. Even in the future, as we leave this resource depleted planet, energy will be PORTABLE. AFFORDABLE, ABUNDANT...and without nuclear waste. :)

Augusta resident
1368
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Augusta resident 02/13/09 - 03:23 am
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I want to know what became of

I want to know what became of the bacteria that survived or would even thrive in the waste. They said it would take about 8 years for the waste to cool off enuf to study it. I think that was about 8 years ago. Maybe it was 13 years, I don't know for sure. I just remember articles like that for some odd reason.

Riverman1
103094
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Riverman1 02/13/09 - 05:13 am
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We are becoming Yucca

We are becoming Yucca Mountain by default.

politicallyNcorrect1
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politicallyNcorrect1 02/13/09 - 07:26 am
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I would normally laugh at SC

I would normally laugh at SC for having NO Choice but to be used as a toxic waste dump. But since Augusta is where I'm located, it's not so funny. No matter what politicians tell you..You don't have a choice!

politicallyNcorrect1
0
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politicallyNcorrect1 02/13/09 - 07:35 am
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Excuse...

Excuse...

SCEagle Eye
993
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SCEagle Eye 02/13/09 - 08:21 am
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Did you catch the sub-theme

Did you catch the sub-theme in this plutonium storage story? - There is NO comprehensive management plan for all the plutonium pouring into SRS. DOE always said there would be a "way out" for any plutonium that was shipped into South Carolina, but that just ain't so, folks. Lindsey Graham, Gresham Barrett and other politicians have run cover for DOE's mischief, designed to pull one over on people they treat as bumpkins, while sticking the tax payer with the costs. Ah, big, bumbling, costly government....

curly123053
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curly123053 02/13/09 - 08:50 am
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Was not interested in reading

Was not interested in reading this story because I have faith in SRS/Vogtle to operate their systems in a safe manner. I was just wanting to see if our liberal friend SandyK was having an anxiety attack over this article and I see he is......LOL...SandyK, take a paper bag......hold it to your face and breathe in and out a few times......you will be okay.

SandyK2005
1
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SandyK2005 02/13/09 - 09:09 am
0
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Curly, RBK or whatever sock

Curly, RBK or whatever sock you are next, if you're so confident of these nuclear plants work there -- not in the control room; not as a security guard; not as a grounds keeper; but one of the techs that actually handles nuclear material. Let us know which cancer you develop in about about, say, 10 years (especially brain tumors, which are rare, but not in the nuclear reactor industry). Then come back, and I'll give you your paper bag so you don't hyperventilate, as you go kooky on us about the man on the moon is killing you with the help of the Illuminati, 'K?

Niko Mahs
83
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Niko Mahs 02/13/09 - 09:34 am
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GOP now stands for Got Our

GOP now stands for Got Our Plutonium. The GOP is a cancer on the Republic; and now that will be localized in the beautiful and bankrupt Palmetto State.

fredinaiken
0
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fredinaiken 02/13/09 - 09:55 am
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The world's plutonium

The world's plutonium (startimg with the SRS plutonium) should be made into new reactor fuel pieces at the MOX plant at SRS, then transumted into clean, safe, low-cost energy.

iletuknow
8
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iletuknow 02/13/09 - 10:35 am
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A glorified garbage dump for

A glorified garbage dump for the world to use.

mostlyharmless
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mostlyharmless 02/13/09 - 05:52 pm
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I am going on my 21st year as

I am going on my 21st year as a nuke tech. I held one of the last buttons produced at SRS. I am cancer free. Perhaps you should do a little research particularly radiation hormesis. Can't believe Silkwood still comes up.

thistownisunbelievable
1
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thistownisunbelievable 02/13/09 - 06:58 pm
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Niko, your post makes no

Niko, your post makes no sense.

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