NORTH AUGUSTA — U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson wants to continue efforts to develop a small modular reactor at Savannah River Site after a U.S. Department of Energy award partially funding a project to design the portable reactors excluded the South Carolina site last month.
“I believe that (reactor) has great potential to be developed still at the Savannah River Site,” the South Carolina Republican said Friday.
SRS has tried for previous awards to bring small modular reactors to the site but has been passed over. The DOE award was given to Oregon-based NuScale Power LLC.
The reactors, which would be about one-third the size of conventional reactors, have compact designs that supporters believe will offer safety, construction and economic benefits. They can be made in factories and moved to sites, helping to cut costs and construction times.
During a five-stop tour across South Carolina’s 2nd Congressional District to announce his 2014 legislative agenda, Wilson said he would continue promoting new missions at SRS such as small modular reactors while working for
funding to protect nuclear waste cleanup at the site.
Wilson, a stringent proponent of the mixed oxide fuel plant, said he hopes the facility will be completed. The plant, which has become increasingly expensive and behind schedule, would dispose of surplus plutonium from dismantled warheads by blending it into commercial nuclear fuel.
“To me, every day we achieve a higher percentage of completion,” Wilson said. “I believe we are pretty close to identifying a customer for the fuel that is to be produced.”