A monument to one of the first triumphs in nuclear waste cleanup was added this week to Savannah River Site’s eclectic collection of Cold War artifacts.
The stone marker, erected in 1997 after the closure of the nation’s first Cold War era nuclear waste tank, was moved to the site’s 27,000-square-foot “curation facility,” where relics of the nuclear age are preserved for future generations.
Caroline Bradford, the curator of the Savannah River Cold War Artifact Collection, called the donation a piece of history.
“The Savannah River Site has played a huge role in this nation’s history and closing the first nuclear legacy waste tank is a very important part of that history,” she said.
The artifact collection, housed in a renovated 1960s warehouse once set for demolition, holds two main collections: Cold War nuclear weapons program items from the 1950s to the 1990s and archaeological artifacts that span 12,000 years before the site was created.
The Cold War collection includes everything from test tubes to clocks, along with vintage nuclear items that are still so secret they cannot be photographed.
The marker, donated by contractor Savannah River Remediation, was placed in front of Tank 20, the first tank closed. The network of underground storage tanks contain defense waste generated during decades of operations at SRS to support the manufacture and maintenance of the nation’s nuclear arsenal.
The curation facility, which opened last year, is not a museum open for public visits, but rather a place to preserve important items and help the site comply with the National Historic Preservation Act and other laws that require care for historic federal resources.