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Land lease deals could start soon

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The U.S. Department of Energy and a nonprofit development board are in the final stages of a deal to lease 2,500 acres within Savannah River Site that could be marketed as an "energy park" or a possible site for a commercial nuclear power plant.

"We have come up with a site ... but until the lease is signed, we cannot divulge its location," said Rick Toole, the chairman of the Savannah River Site Community Reuse Organization.

The organization was formed 15 years ago to find ways to bring new jobs to SRS as its nuclear weapons mission and employment numbers diminished.

Efforts to establish a lease program for "energy park" land within the 310-square-mile site have been under way for years, but the absence of a formal procedure for such leases has prevented major prospects from fully exploring development options.

"DOE has been extremely helpful in trying to maneuver through all the obstacles, and, as of this week, we think we may have leases signed and in-hand sometime in the spring or early summer," Mr. Toole said.

A focus of private development at the site includes alternative and nonrenewable energy opportunities, but the Community Reuse Organization's 2008 annual report also mentions nuclear power generation and medical applications.

"One of the advantages is that it is a well-protected federal site, and having something that secure and protected, you don't have to worry about 'not in my backyard' types of neighbors," Mr. Toole said.

The site's legacy as a nuclear weapons materials plant also offers an abundance of data that could save money on site suitability studies.

According to a December 2007 position paper published by the Community Reuse Organization, SRS has been eyed by major utility companies as a possible venue for new nuclear power plants. Those companies included SCANA in South Carolina and Southern Co. of Georgia, but the inquiries weren't pursued in earnest, in part because of the absence of a formal land lease agreement.

Once the land lease has been completed, Mr. Toole believes SRS will become much more attractive as a potential site for energy projects.

He said the Community Reuse Organization hopes to work with other economic development boards, not in competition with them.

"A nuclear power plant, for example, is something that would not normally or regularly fit into the domain of other authorities," he said. "There is also a big federal push for alternative energy, with incentives to look at renewable energy opportunities. We already have some prospects with interest."

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

MISSED OPPORTUNITIES

According to the Savannah River Site Community Reuse Organization, there are four recent examples of missed opportunities for commercial nuclear projects at SRS because of the absence of formal land lease agreements. Each offered investments of more than $1.5 billion and at least 500 jobs:

MAY 2005: NuStart Consortia expressed interest in SRS for a nuclear power reactor as part of the DOE 2010 program. The department authorized negotiating a lease, but the utility's partners expressed reservations about potential lease provisions that included dual regulation by DOE and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

SEPTEMBER 2005: SCANA explored SRS as a possible site for a commercial nuclear power plant and evaluated SRS in terms of emergency planning, exclusion zones, operation of infrastructure and land lease terms and conditions.

SEPTEMBER 2005: Southern Co. considered SRS as a possible nuclear power plant site, with questions that included indemnification and land lease terms and conditions.

AUGUST 2007: AREVA looked at SRS during site selection for construction and operation of a uranium enrichment plant.

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patriciathomas
42
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patriciathomas 02/15/09 - 07:32 am
0
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Well, progress. I'm amazed

Well, progress. I'm amazed this concept took 15 years to bring into fruition, and the $800 billion "stimulus" bill took 1 day. I guess it all has to do with who's getting greased.

WClark40
0
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WClark40 02/15/09 - 09:01 am
0
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My question is who gets a

My question is who gets a chance to bid for the leases. Whats the process.Augusta Chronicle will you tell the public how they may be able to obtain information about acquiring rights to these leases. This is where the public becomes skeptical!! It looks like another giveaway to special interest!!!!The savannah river site after all is public land when its said and done.

aaa
2
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aaa 02/15/09 - 09:42 am
0
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The lease is for an energy

The lease is for an energy park, not a fast food restaurant or gas station. The leases will go to capital venturist groups or energy corporations who have the know-how to put together a plan for energy production - nuclear or one of the fantasy-type "renewwwwwable" sources Obama talks about. The public can make money off of this by investing in one of those groups through direct stock buys or bond funding. Obviously, nuclear makes the most sense.

SCEagle Eye
914
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SCEagle Eye 02/15/09 - 10:46 am
0
0
Wow, SRS backers reaching for

Wow, SRS backers reaching for another big government handout! Just wishing this handout/subsidy will come won't make it so, but then again we know the goal of may of these people is to figure out how to get our tax money into their pockets and they are relentless in their socialist vision. This scheme is going to hit the wall of many problems - like where is the private money, which will have to be 100%? And, if SRS has given a sign it will sign a lease, better check with the policy in DC against this. Given that GA Power, SCE&G and Duke are all going for new reactors, just what is the market? Export to New York? Let them bear the risk and cost. A nuclear energy park or a reprocessing dump simply don't pass the smell test. Show us that the tax payer won't be skewered by this scheme, or is that the real goal?

SCEagle Eye
914
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SCEagle Eye 02/15/09 - 01:23 pm
0
0
This has the smell of

This has the smell of desperation all over it. Not getting support in the parts of DOE that would actually deal with nuclear energy or reprocessing, the backers of the "energy park" are trying to use DOE's nuclear waste clean-up office (Environmental Management) to push this. I will bet a barrel of nuclear waste that once adult supervision arrives in Washington to take over EM that this idea will sink back into the socialist goo from whence it came.

jhvenier
0
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jhvenier 02/16/09 - 02:49 pm
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Pluto Boy, maybe you should

Pluto Boy, maybe you should whine about being stroked by the so-called stimulus plan, every "working" person took a real slap in the face on that one. 800 billion and i dont here you moaning about that, oh, you must be one of the few on welfare that will come out ahead on that one!!!

SCEagle Eye
914
Points
SCEagle Eye 02/16/09 - 06:39 pm
0
0
We will all suffer for ages

We will all suffer for ages at the $10 trillion in debt of Bush and this "stimulus" as well. Why oh why didn't a single fiscal conservative emerge to stop Socialist Bush as he ran our country into the ditch? It's a crime and needs investigating. As for DOE and the stimulus, a good kick to the backside to account better for our money would be the first place for a stimulus, not to throw more of our money at them, which only encourages more waste, fraud and abuse. Towards this end, will fiscal conservatives finally emerge or will they play the Lindsey Graham hand and give DOE all it wants?

jhvenier
0
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jhvenier 02/17/09 - 09:08 am
0
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I would rather see our

I would rather see our country benefit from technology, jobs, industry and defense, than I would to see it given away to the generations of welfare that have been a drain on our society. Granted welfare is a noble program, if used correctly but, we have not used it wisely. We have given welfare to generation after generation who now expect it, if I as a worker since I have been 19, even while I put myself through college, wanted to draw from a welfare program, I wouldnt be able to because I made too much the last how many years...thats wrong. It is wrong our stimulus will go to welfare for people who are not citizens also.

SCEagle Eye
914
Points
SCEagle Eye 02/17/09 - 10:22 pm
0
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Listen, I realize that it is

Listen, I realize that it is a huge shock for many people in the Aiken-Augusta area to think that they were God-fearing Christians to wake up one day and realize that they had morphed into Socialists out to support themselves off the backs of the rest of us tax-paying workers. Unfortunately, counsiling is no longer available due to budget cuts. And, those of us who were paying your bills are getting a bit agitated about the rip-off and are more willing to speak out against it. It's time to seek a living from the private sector like the rest of us who are supporting those on SRS welfare. If you come up with private funding for SRS projects that's good but till that happens STOP begging for handouts and please show some dignity and stop whining if you don't get our tax money.

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